Manu Vatuvei reveals he is facing drug charges & potential life imprisonment

James Messenger

Former New Zealand World Cup winner Manu Vatuvei has revealed that he is facing methamphetamine charges.

The former New Zealand Warriors winger, 35, retired from the game in 2019 after being diagnosed with a brain cyst. 

He denies the charges of possessing methamphetamine for supply and importing the Class A drug, which date back to the end of 2019 and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. 

Since the charges were brought upon him, Vatuvei has fought to keep his identity a secret but has now taken to social media as he prepares to take his legal “battle” to the Court of Appeal. 

A Tonga representative at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Vatuvei enjoyed a brief stint in Super League with Salford, scoring five tries in eight appearances for the Red Devils before being released in June 2018 after suffering a season-ending injury.  

He spent the majority of his career with the Warriors, scoring 152 tries in 226 NRL matches.

Speaking on social media, Vatuvei said: “In 2019 I was charged with importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine.

“All these charges are accusations, and I’ll be fighting my innocence for these charges. 

“I know there will be a lot of questions that are wanting answers, but I’ve been advised from my legal team that that’s all I can talk about.”

Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson and George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.