Helping to develop some of Leicester Tigers’ young talents helped Telusa Veainu through his ‘tough’ injury lay off, according to the full-back.
The 28-year-old suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot – almost unheard of among rugby players – away to Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup in October, and fought back to fitness for his first Gallagher Premiership start in almost eight months at Harlequins last week.
But Veainu explained how working with some of the squad’s most promising young players helped him through a long and complicated return to the field.
“Being out there and being able to help out those boys has, I guess, taken my mind off the injury,” he said, singling out development players Jordan Olowofela and Sam Aspland-Robinson in particular.
“They’re both really young, so I’ve managed to spend a lot of time with them.
“I have a lot of pride in my position and where I’m at, and I want to make sure that if I’m out, that I leave the jersey in good hands.
“I felt like it was my duty to make sure that those boys are ready.”
“They’ve got so much energy.”Telusa Veainu
Veainu, along with long-time Leicester servant Mathew Tait, helped both players work on their transition from development squad to the senior side through positional work and other minutiae of playing in the No15 shirt.
The Tongan international continued: “For me, when I first came in Taity had a massive impact on the way that I played and things like that, and he’s done a lot of the work as well.
“They’ve both still got a lot to learn, but I think they’ve done really well.
“They’ve got so much energy, but it’s all about how you harness that energy and put it to good use, and they’re both keen and willing to get out there and try it.”
And with just one round of the league season remaining, Veainu added that he was keen for the Tigers side to put in a strong performance against Bath at Welford Road next Saturday, May 18 (4.00pm).
“We just want to put a good performance out there,” he added.
“Our fans and our family deserve it, but we also want to get out there and play for ourselves.
“Personally, it’s about getting out there and doing the simple things well.”