Sapporo - Telusa Veainu is looking forward to facing a familiar foe when Tonga launch their World Cup campaign against an England side set to include his Leicester team-mate and neighbour Manu Tuilagi.

Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs could also line up for England in Saturday's match in Sapporo but it is the prospect of playing against powerhouse centre Tuilagi that will be particularly special for full-back cum wing Veainu, who made it to Japan 2019 after eight months out with a foot injury.

"He (Tuilagi) lives less than 100 metres from me and can be a nuisance sometimes," Veainu told reporters in Sapporo on Wednesday.

"But he helped me settle in (at Leicester) and he has been through some dark times with injuries as well. He told me everything happens for a reason.

"If I hadn't got injured I would have missed my daughter's birth last November because I would have been with Tonga in Wales.

"I had eight months out and my first game back was the second-last one of the season, so it's a relief to be here and I am so looking forward to it, especially with so many Leicester guys in the England squad."

The 28-year-old Veainu, who boasts an impressive strike rate of five tries from nine Tests, arrived at Leicester after the 2015 World Cup in England and has since gone on to score 22 tries in 54 matches for the Tigers.

While concerns have been raised over wealthy European clubs putting pressure on financially vulnerable players from Pacific island nations to make themselves unavailable for international duty, Veainu was adamant that his career with Leicester was a direct result of representing Tonga at the last World Cup.

"Tonga was a life-saver for me in 2015. I was at one of my lowest points because I had hardly played any rugby for the (Melbourne) Rebels that season and I wasn't going anywhere," he explained.

"After being called up by them (Tonga) I managed to turn things around and signed for Leicester, so I will always be grateful."