RPA member and Leicester Tigers winger Telusa Veainu has been named the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) 2015 Tongan Players’ Player of the Year following his exploits at international level this year.
Veainu, who scored his fourth try in five games for the Tigers in the Aviva Premiership win over Bath Rugby, was presented with the award by Fiji international Seremaia Bai at the club’s Oval Park training ground.
And afterwards he dedicated the award to his coaches and teammates at international level.
“I was pretty shocked but at the same time very thankful and really grateful,” said the 24-year-old Veainu.
“I am not really a big believer in individual awards because rugby is a team sport, but I really thank the Tonga team, the players, the coaches and the management for giving me the opportunity to go out there and play.
“They really threw me a lifeline this year. They gave me an environment where I could enjoy myself and play. I’ve grown as a player and as an individual. I really appreciate what they have done for me.
“I couldn’t have got here (at Leicester Tigers) without those boys. I got the opportunity through playing for Tonga and things opened up for me.
“I guess this is a way of me repaying them, by playing well and not only doing the players proud and also my country. Hopefully the Tongan people are proud of how I’m going.”
During the 2015 Rugby World Cup players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga voted for their Players’ Player of the Year from their respective nations as well as their overall selection for the Pacific Island Player’s Player of the Year award.
The players selected Fiji and Glasgow Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa as the overall Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year. He was also the Fijian Players’ Player of the Year Award. Paul Perez was awarded the Samoan Player of the Year award.
2015 Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Award Winners
Fijian Players Player of the Year – Leone Nakarawa
Tongan Players Player of the Year – Telusa Veainu
Samoan Players Player of the Year – Paul Perez
Pacific Island Players Player of the Year – Leone Nakarawa