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Tonga World Cup star Veainu arrives at Tigers

Leicester Tigers' new signing Telusa Veainu says the move to Welford Road is another part of a whirlwind six months in his rugby career.As the club confirmed the arrival of the Tonga international wing, Veainu could not have dreamt his career would have taken such significant turns during 2015.   After playing most of his rugby in New Zealand and representing the national side at Under-20s level, Veainu moved to Australia with Melbourne Rebels.   “I was coming out of contract in Melbourne and thought I’d go to the World Cup and give it my all and see what happens,” says 24-year-old Veainu.   “The World Cup was a great experience, especially playing against the All Blacks and so many guys I knew from back home. Afterwards, I flew back to New Zealand looking to let my hair down and relax a bit but then I got a phone call from my agent who told me to get back on the plane and come over to Leicester Tigers.”   Veainu gained his first experience of Welford Road when he warmed up with the Tigers team ahead of last Sunday’s Aviva Premiership match against Harlequins and he says the stadium has already made a big impression.   “I was pretty nervous, it felt like I was getting ready to play, not just warming up with the boys,” he said. “The stadium is awesome, you get a feeling of energy from the crowd. The support is great and they are so close to the pitch. I had never seen anything like that before.”   Reflecting on his move to the northern hemisphere and settling to his new home, Veainu added: “The last three or four months has been a bit of a rollercoaster but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve been to the Pacific Nations with Tonga, I’ve played in a World Cup and now I’m here in Leicester.   “This is the beginning for me. The first part was getting here, but there are a lot of good players here and I have to compete for a place. I know it will make me a better player.”   Richard Cockerill, Tigers director of rugby, said: “Telusa has a very good try-scoring record throughout his career and has shown good form on the biggest stage with Tonga at the World Cup.   “He has pace, he is a finisher in the wide channels and we believe there is a lot more to come from him. He has had interest from several places but he was very keen to come here and that says a lot about him. We look forward to seeing him develop with the Tigers.”