Rugby: Nasi Manu named in Tongan Pacific Nations Cup squad

Manu played 65 times for the Highlanders.
Manu played 65 times for the Highlanders. Photo credit: Getty

Former Highlanders captain Nasi Manu has been named to Tonga's squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup.

The loose forward spent five years with the Highlanders, leading them to their maiden Super Rugby title in 2015.

He departed after that championship season for Scottish club Edinburgh, before signing on with his current club, Italian giants Bennetton Treviso.

With next year's Rugby World Cup on the horizon, Manu's experience and pedigree will be a highly valuable addition to the Tongan fold, and he'll likely be on the short-list of captaincy candidates.

The Christchurch product was a star at age-group level, representing New Zealand in the U19 and U20 world championship-winning runs of 2007 and 2008.

The 29-year-old is one of six new caps in the team to contest June's tournament in Suva, which also includes hosts Fiji, Samoa and newcomers Georgia.

Former All Blacks midfielder Pita Alatini will also join the campaign as an assistant coach under Toutai Kefu.

Tonga open their Cup campaign against Georgia on June 9 in Suva.