|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)|
|2010–2012||NRL All Stars||2||1||0||0||0|
|Source: Warriors NRL Team, |
Manu Vatuvei (/ /; born 4 March 1986), is a New Zealand rugby league player 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. On Tuesday, 24 August 2010 it was announced that Vatuvei had extended his contract with the Warriors to the end of the 2013 season.
Vatuvei was born in New Zealand and is of Tongan heritage. He 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 debut for the Warriors in Round 11 of the 2004 NRL season against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. He made his international debut against the Kangaroos on the 16 October 2005. It was the opening game of the 2005 Tri-Nations, where the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos at Telstra Stadium. He later went on to play in the Tri-Nations final, scoring two tries on the way to a 24–0 victory over the Kangaroos. Vatuvei was selected to play for the New Zealand national team on the wing in the 2007 ANZAC Test match against Australia, scoring a try in the Kiwis' 6-30 loss. 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 on 27 April.
He however returned from injury to be a major force in the Warriors push for the playoffs. With the Warriors in an away, last round, do-or-die match against Parramatta Eels 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 (2007) he dropped many high kick bombs which led to tries and a 6–30 Warriors loss. With this new found confidence and self-belief he had everything to gain in the match against the Storm, the reigning premiers.
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). He 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, a game that qualified the Warriors for the preliminary final against the Manly Sea Eagles.
Vatuvei was named in the New Zealand squad for the 2008 Rugby League 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. He went on to play in the first New Zealand team to win the World Cup, defeating Australia in the final. Vatuvei's efforts were recognized as he was named International Winger of the year in 2008.
The Warriors failed to make the finals of the 2009 NRL Premiership, but Vatuvei finished the season as the club's top try-scorer.
In 2010 Vatuvei announced that he had extended his Warriors contract until the end of the 2013 season.
He has now surpassed Stacey Jones' club record of 77 tries. Vatuvei scored his 78th try against the Titans on the 10 of September 2010 in the first week of play-off matches. Vatuvei scored his 90th NRL try for the Warriors in the 2011 NRL Grand Final against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a losing effort 24-10, Vatuvei's first and only Grand Final appearance to date.
Due to an injury to the incumbent captain, Simon Mannering, Vatuvei captained the side for several games near the end of the 2012 NRL season. On 11 August 2012 Vatuvei became the first player to score 100 tries for the club. Along with Shaun Johnson and Konrad Hurrell, Vatuvei was the 2012 New Zealand Warriors season's top try-scorer with 12. At the end of the 2012 season, New Zealand played a test match against Australia and Vatuvei, usually the Kiwis regular winger, was not picked.
Vatuvei was the 2013 New Zealand Warriors season's top try-scorer.
In the Kiwis' opening game of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, a win against Samoa, Vatuvei scored a hat-trick of tries.
- Lawton, Aaron (2010-05-16). "'The Beast' Manu on NFL radar". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Massoud, Josh (2008-01-16). "Samoa, Tonga reach out to stars". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Hewitson, Michele (27 March 2010). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Manu Vatuvei". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Anzac Test Match 2007". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- 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.
- Lawton, Aaron (24 August 2010). "Manu Vatuvei re-signs with NZ Warriors". Sunday News. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Warriors humiliated by Cowboys in Townsville stuff.co.nz, 11 August 2012