Former Highlanders captain and Tongan international Nasi Manu has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will begin a cycle of chemotherapy.


The 30-year-old currently plays for Benetton Treviso in the Pro 14 but has been sidelined for the past few months and had an operation in August to remove an abnormal growth.

The back-rower had blood tests last week and Benetton Treviso has announced his need for chemotherapy.

Manu said in a statement that he was grateful for the support he has received while he fights the disease. “Thanks to my club, from management to teammates, I appreciate all your support,” Manu said.

“Thanks to my wife, my family and friends. I’ll still have to do the last treatments before the fight can be considered over, but I know I’ll succeed and I’ll be back soon,” Manu said.

Manu also urged men to check their testicles for anything unusual.


“Thank you to everyone for the messages of support,” Manu wrote.

“Definitely has put a lot of things into perspective. Still a bit of a road to recovery but got the best Italy has to offer and I will make a full recovery I’m sure of it!

“Don’t be embarrassed, check your balls!”

Lincoln-born Manu played for Canterbury, the Crusaders and Highlanders during his time in New Zealand, leaving in 2015 to take up a contract with Edinburgh before eventually joining Benetton Treviso in 2017.


Canterbury lock Luke Romano reportedly called Manu a Canterbury legend before the team’s training run on Thursday morning.

“I was lucky enough to play a few seasons here with him,” Romano said. “What he gives on the field is massive. He gave 120 per cent every single day, and off the field he was such a good team man.”

“Everyone loved being around him, he was always laughing, smiling and joking, so to hear something like that has happened to him. Not just my thoughts, but the thoughts of the whole Canterbury rugby community, go out to him, his wife and his little baby.”

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now