|Vatuvei playing for the Warriors in 2013|
4 March 1986 |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Height||191 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||112 kg (17 st 9 lb)|
|2010–15||NRL All Stars||3||1||0||0||0|
Manu Vatuvei (/ /; born 4 March 1986), is a New Zealand rugby league player who currently plays for the New Zealand Warriors in the National Rugby League competition. His position of choice is on the wing. Vatuvei was a member of the New Zealand Kiwis squad that won the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Vatuvei is currently the New Zealand Warriors highest try scorer.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Vatuvei is of Tongan descent. Vatuvei grew up in the same Otara neighbourhood as Ruben Wiki and attended Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. His cousin is Tongan-Japanese rugby union player Ruatangi Vatuvei. Vatuvei played for the Otara Scorpions and Otahuhu Leopards in Auckland Rugby League competitions before playing for the Otahuhu Ellerslie Leopards in the Bartercard Cup. When he was only 16 he joined the New Zealand Warriors development squad.
Vatuvei made his NRL debut for the New Zealand Warriors in Round 11 of the 2004 NRL season against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the wing in the Warriors 26-12 win at SFS. Vatuvei played in 5 matches in his debut year for the Warriors in the 2004 NRL season.
In Round 4 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Mt Smart Stadium, Vatuvei scored his first NRL career try in the Warriors 46-14 win. Vatuvei finished the 2005 NRL season with him playing in 12 matches and scoring 9 tries for the Warriors. In the post season, Vatuvei made his international debut for New Zealand against Australia on the 16 October 2005. It was the opening game of the Tri-Nations, where the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos 38-28 at ANZ Stadium. Vatuvei later went on to play in the 2005 Tri-Nations final, scoring two tries on the way to a 24–0 victory over Australia at Alfred McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield. Vatuvei played 5 matches and scored 3 tries in the series.
Vatuvei finished the 2006 NRL season with him playing in 18 matches and scoring 10 tries for the Warriors. In the post season, Vatuvei was selected for the New Zealand 2006 Tri-Nations squad playing in 5 matches and scoring 2 tries in the series, including playing on the wing in the Kiwis 16-12 golden point extra time loss to Australia in the Tri Nations final at the SFS.
Vatuvei was selected to play for the New Zealand on the wing in the 2007 ANZAC Test match against Australia, scoring a try in the Kiwis 6-30 loss. After playing in 23 matches, Vatuvei was joint top try scorer for the Warriors alongside Jerome Ropati and Michael Witt with 10 tries in the 2007 NRL season.
In 2008 Vatuvei had his most consistent season to date, playing well and being a major strike-weapon for the Warriors. At times with his combination of pace and strength, only injury could stop him – and stop him it did, Vatuvei suffered a broken leg in Round 7 against the Gold Coast Titans in the Warriors 36-24 loss at Skilled Park. Vatuvei however returned from injury to be a major force in the Warriors push for the playoffs. With the Warriors in an away, last round match against Parramatta Eels in Round 26 where they needed a win to qualify for the playoffs, Vatuvei scored a hat-trick of tries and was dominant in the high kicks, as the Warriors convincingly won 28–6 to qualify in 8th spot and book a match against minor premiers Melbourne Storm. The match against the Eels was a huge confidence booster for Vatuvei due to the fact that the last time he played at this venue in Round 11 2007, where he dropped many high kick bombs which led to tries and a 30–6 Warriors loss. Vatuvei turned on one of the best performances of his career as on the 14 September 2008 he played a huge role in the upset of minor premiers Melbourne Storm winning 18–15 at Olympic Park (where the Storm had only lost twice in three seasons). Vatuvei scored one of the Warriors three tries and was denied another by a forward pass ruling. With the Warriors trailing 15–14 in the 78th minute, he received an offload from Jerome Ropati and busted several tackles over a run of 40m before passing to Michael Witt who sprinted 20m to score the match-winning try. Vatuvei scored another try in the Warriors 30–13 elimination semi-final victory over the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium, a game that qualified the Warriors for the preliminary final against the Manly Sea Eagles but later lost 32-6 at SFS. Vatuvei was named in the New Zealand squad for the 2008 World Cup. Vatuvei went on to star in the tournament, breaking New Zealand's World Cup record for most tries in a match with four against England. Vatuvei went on to play in the first New Zealand team to win the World Cup, defeating Australia in the final. Vatuvei played in 5 matches and scored 4 tries in the tournament. Vatuvei was named International Winger of the year in 2008.
Vatuvei was selected to play for New Zealand on the wing in the 2009 ANZAC test match against Australia, scoring a try in the Kiwis 38-10 loss at Suncorp Stadium. The Warriors failed to make the finals of the 2009 NRL Premiership, but Vatuvei finished the season as the club's top try-scorer with 13 tries in 19 matches in the 2009 NRL season.
In 13 February 2010, Vatuvei played on the wing for the NRL All Stars team against the Indigenous All Stars team in the inaugural 2010 All Stars match at Skilled Park in the NRL All Stars 16-12 loss. In Round 13 against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium, Vatuvei played his 100th NRL career match in the Warriors 20-22 loss. In 24 August 2010, Vatuvei announced that he had extended his Warriors contract until the end of the 2013 season. Vatuvei surpassed Stacey Jones' club record of 77 tries in the first week of play-off matches against the Gold Coast Titans; the Warriors lost the match 28-16 at Skilled Park. Vatuvei was the Warriors highest tryscorer in the 4th year in a row with 20 tries in 19 matches in the 2010 NRL season. In the post season, Vatuvei was selected for the New Zealand 2010 Four Nations squad.
Vatuvei scored his 90th NRL try for the Warriors in the 2011 NRL Grand Final against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the Warriors 24-10 losing effort, Vatuvei's first and only Grand Final appearance to date. Vatuvei was the Warriors highest tryscorer in the 5th year in a row with 12 tries in 19 matches in the 2011 NRL season. Vatuvei missed the 2011 Four Nations series after failing medical tests.
In 4 February 2012, Vatuvei played on the wing for the NRL All Stars team against the Indigenous All Stars team in the 2012 All Stars match at Skilled Park, scoring a try in the NRL All Stars 36-28 win. Vatuvei was selected to play for New Zealand on the wing in the 2012 ANZAC Test match against Australia in the Kiwis 20-12 loss at Eden Park. Due to an injury to captain Simon Mannering, Vatuvei captained the side for several games near the end of the 2012 NRL season between Rounds 21 and 25. In Round 24 against the Penrith Panthers at Mt Smart Stadium, Vatuvei played in his 150th NRL career match in the Warriors 18-16 loss. In Round 23 against the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, Vatuvei became the first player to score 100 tries for the club, scoring a try in the Warriors shellacking 52-12 loss. Along with Shaun Johnson and Konrad Hurrell, Vatuvei was the New Zealand Warriors season's top try-scorer with 12 tries in 20 matches in the 2012 NRL season. Vatuvei, usually the Kiwis regular winger, was not picked for the Kiwis October test Australia at 1300SMILES Stadium.
On 8 May 2013, Vatuvei extended his contract with the Warriors to the end of the 2015 season. Vatuvei was the Warriors highest tryscorer in the 7th year in a row with 16 tries in 19 matches in the 2013 NRL season. Vatuvei was selected for the New Zealand 2013 World Cup squad, In the Kiwis opening game of the 2013 World Cup, a 42-24 win against Samoa at Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, Vatuvei scored a hat-trick of tries. Vatuvei played on wing in the Kiwis 34-2 World Cup final loss against Australia at Old Trafford. Vatuvei played in 4 matches and scored 4 tries in the series.
Vatuvei finished off the Warriors 2014 NRL season as the Warriors highest tryscorer for the year with 17 tries in 23 matches. On 7 October 2014, Vatuvei was selected in the New Zealand Kiwis final 24 man squad for the 2014 Four Nations series. In the 2014 Four Nations final against Australia, Vatuvei scored two tries. With his second he became the new all-time top try scorer for the Kiwis, breaking Nigel Vagana's record of 19 which was a record held since 2006.
On 16 January 2015, Vatuvei was named in the Warriors' 2015 Auckland Nines squad. On 19 January 2015, Vatuvei was selected for NRL All Stars team for the All Stars match at Cbus Super Stadium on 13 February 2015. On 11 April 2015, Vatuvei played his 200th NRL game, scoring twice and in the following round Vatuvei overtook Nigel Vagana as the most prolific New Zealand try scorer when he touched down for his 141st career try.
- Lawton, Aaron (2010-05-16). "'The Beast' Manu on NFL radar". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Manu Vatuvei rugbyleagueproject.org
- Hewitson, Michele (27 March 2010). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Manu Vatuvei". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Manu Vatuvei breaks leg The Herald Sun, 27 April 2008
- "Kiwis to wait on Webb and Matai". BBC. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
- "Vatuvei international winger of the year". Television New Zealand. NZPA. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2011.