Former Kiwis hardman Quentin Pongia is in a battle to overcome cancer.

The former New Zealand test front-rower recently underwent bowel surgery and is working towards making a full recovery.

"I'm in hospital at the moment recovering from a fairly lengthy operation to remove a tumour from my bowel," Pongia told Australia's Wide World of Sports.

"I'm on the mend now and pray I can overcome this moving forward."

Advertisement

Originally from the West Coast, the 48-year-old played 35 tests for the Kiwis throughout the 1990s, during a 13-year career in which he carved out a reputation as one of the game's toughest players.

Former Kiwis front-rower Quentin Pongia carts the ball forward against Great Britain during the 1993 tour of the UK. Photo / Photosport.
Former Kiwis front-rower Quentin Pongia carts the ball forward against Great Britain during the 1993 tour of the UK. Photo / Photosport.

His uncompromising style of play saw him make an immediate impression when he arrived in the NRL after joining the star-studded Canberra side in 1993.

Pongia went on to win a premiership title with the Raiders the following year before going on to play stints with the Warriors, Roosters and Dragons as well as English glamour club Wigan.

He was last year appointed as Manly's Wellbeing Officer and works closely with the Sea Eagles' young indigenous players.

Pongia is understood to be receiving support from former teammates and the Men of League Foundation, an Australian rugby league charity.