World Cup winner Manu Vatuvei jailed for three years

Drew Darbyshire
Manu Vatuvei

Former New Zealand World Cup winner Manu Vatuvei has been sentenced to three years and seven months.

He has been charged with importing methamphetamine into New Zealand.

Vatuvei’s brother Lopini Mafi has been sentenced to seven years and two months for his role in heading the operation.

The former NRL and Super League winger appeared at south Auckland’s Manukau District Court on Wednesday. 

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Manu Vatuvei playing career

Vatuvei enjoyed 14 seasons with New Zealand Warriors in the NRL. The Auckland-born player made his debut in 2004 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

The winger set a club try-scoring record during his 14 seasons with New Zealand Warriors. He scored 152 tries in the NRL.

He has also made the third most appearances for the club in their history with 226. Vatuvei was the club’s top try scorer in eight consecutive seasons between 2007-2014.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, Vatuvei made the switch to Super League with Salford in 2017 on a two-year deal. He damaged his Achilles tendon in a freak training accident a week before the opening match of the 2018 season. He was soon after released from his contract, having made eight appearances for the Red Devils.

In the same year, Vatuvei announced his retirement

He finished his career with 29 caps for New Zealand and two for Tonga. He also represented the NRL All Stars between 2010-2015. Vatuvei was a member of the New Zealand national team that won the 2008 World Cup.

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