Nasi Manu’s return to rugby will have to wait

Nasi Manu hasn’t played a game of rugby in over a year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. He missed the whole Pro14 season and last ran onto the rugby field for Tonga in their Pacific Nations Clash with Fiji last June.

Today was supposed to mark Manu’s return to rugby after he was named to captain the ‘Ikale Tahi against Samoa, however the affable loose forward will now have to wait at least one more week. Earlier today, Tonga announced that Manu would have to withdraw from the match due to injury.

Elvis Taione will take the captain’s armband in Manu’s absence whilst Sione Vailau will take over at number 8. Prop Siua Halanukonuka will join the bench.

Today’s match kicks off at 1:50PM, local time.

Revised Tonga team:

1. Paea Fa’anunu, 2. Elvis Taione (c), 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Leva Fifita, 5. Sam Lousi*, 6. Onehunga Havili, 7. Maama Vaipulu, 8. Sione Vailau, 9. Samisoni Fisilau, 10. James Faiva*, 11. Viliame Lolohea, 12. Cooper Vuna, 13. Malietoa Hingano*, 14. David Halaifonua, 15. Nafi Tuitavake.

Reserves:

16. Sefo Sakalia, 17. Toma Taufa*, 18. Ma’afu Fia, 19. Zane Kapeli, 20. Siua Halanukonuka, 21. Fotu Lokotui, 22. Leon Fukofuka, 23. Otumaka Mausia*.

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