Telusa Veainu

'Manu lives less than 100 metres from me and can be a nuisance sometimes'

The Tonga full-back struck up a close relationship with Tuilagi after suffering a foot injury that resulted in eight months of treatment but it has healed in time for him to take part in the World Cup in Japan.

It was during his rehabilitation that he tapped into the experience of Tuilagi, who has finally been restored to full fitness following a sickening run of injuries spanning four years.

New Zealand rugby player has surgery on broken jaw

Veainu, who represented Tonga at the 2015 World Cup, was hurt while taking a high ball during his side's 33-10 loss to Irish club Munster in their European Champions Cup tie last weekend.

The incident provoked a sharp response from Leicester coach Matt O'Connor, who insinuated that Munster player Andrew Conway didn't take enough "care" of Veainu during the collision.

Despite the Irish wing being concussed during the incident, O'Conner was not prepared to let him off the hook - alleging he "smashed" his head into the face of Veainu at Thomond Park in Limerick.

Leicester Tigers star Telusa Veainu is named Tongan players' player of the year

The 24-year-old was presented with his award by Leicester Tigers team-mate, fellow Pacific Islander, Seremaia Bai.

Veainu was genuinely shocked to receive such an accolade and immediately dedicated the award to his Tongan team-mates.

The former Melbourne Rebel back only began playing for his country in the Pacific Nations Cup that preceded the World Cup. At that time, he was out of contract with the Rebels and wondering what to do.

Tonga's Telusa Veainu turned down plenty of attractive offers to sign for Leicester Tigers

He has never watched another game since.

Not through any sense of disgust at what he saw, just that he was too busy making a name for himself playing, instead of watching.