Manu Vatuvei suffering with brain cyst

Drew Darbyshire

Manu Vatuvei might never be able to play rugby league again after being diagnosed with a brain cyst.

The 33-year-old – who is New Zealand Warriors’ all-time leading try-scorer with 152 – hasn’t played since 2017 and left Salford the following year with five months left to run on his contract.

Vatuvei announced plans to launch a boxing career in 2018 but after one knockout victory, he was told he couldn’t get in the ring again.

In conversation with, Vatuvei revealed: “I’ve got a cyst in my brain, so that’s been tough.

“[There were] no symptoms, no nothing… everyone had to do a [brain] scan before the fight and they found it then and tried to rule me out of the fight, but I went on with it and came out good.

“I had some fights lined up which were cancelled because of that.”

The former New Zealand and Tonga international admitted he couldn’t watch a game of rugby league after leaving Salford in 2018 with a ruptured Achilles.

Vatuvei added: “I haven’t really announced my retirement or anything because I’m still in denial that I can still play.

“It’s always been tough, I never watched a game when I came back from England, I never watched a game and I never went to a game or anything.

“I was missing it and getting itchy feet all the time.”

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