Sale Sharks player thriving in new role

Age is something which catches up with every rugby player. What sets the best rugby players apart from the rest is how they deal with this particular challenge.

And one of the most frightening full-backs to ever grace the Premiership has had to evolve as he enters the twilight of his career while at Sale Sharks.

For Telusa Veainu, this has come through being the voice of experience in the changing room. Passing on everything he learned through his career to what he believes is the best back three in English club rugby.

He said: “It is my duty to make sure that when I’m done with the Sharks shirt or whatever shirt I have, the next player to fill my position is ready for that step up. It is my job to push them as hard as I can and to make sure that when I leave, there are no regrets.

“I feel that if I can help push our back three to play international rugby, I’ve done my job here at Sale; contributing to that would be amazing.

“I think a guy like Joe Carpenter deserves to be on the England team. I think that he is one of the most well-rounded players.”

However, this mature outlook on his profession has bled across from his private life.

Setting an example is important for the full-back, with the 33-year-old looking to provide the best platform for his young family.

He said: “The only thing we can do is be as supportive as we can and make them feel loved. 

“I want to make sure that we are there to push them and encourage them to be better humans.

“The motivation now is to obviously provide for them and put them in a good position.”

Being a role model comes naturally to the experienced Tongan international as the eldest of 11 siblings.

And due to his siblings, the 2016/17 Daily Telegraph team of the year winner has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

He said: “I’d love to play with them. Obviously, I’ve got five brothers; I’d love to play with them; even if it is just at club level to play together in one team, I reckon it would be quite fun.”

After Sale lost the Premiership final 35-25 to Saracens, Veainu was brought in to help the Sharks get after the line and win their first major piece of silverware since 2006.

Club success would be great. But it is not the dream for Veainu.

He said: “In terms of winning the Pacific Nations, it would be awesome for us, and the thing is, we have always had the players; we just need the time together and the coaches to complete that package.

“The thing with Tonga is that we have so much potential, and rugby in the last century or so hasn’t been up to par with our expectations. One not having resources and all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

“But we find strength in the struggle and get on with it really.”

Feature Image: Sale Sharks

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