Manu Vatuvei

'I don't have sympathy for Manu Vatuvei' - Fauono Ken Laban

Rugby league commentator Fauono Ken Laban has condemned the actions of former league star Manu Vatuvei, but says part of the responsibility lies with his management team.

Vatuvei was sentenced to three years and seven months earlier this week in Manukau District Court for importing methamphetamine.

"You've got to find the people who failed Manu," says Fauono Ken Laban.

Former rugby league star Manu Vatuvei sentenced on meth import charge

The 35-year-old admitted his role in importing around 500 grams of methamphetamine from India, after denying it for nearly two years after being charged. He appeared for sentencing in the Manukau District Court today before Judge Jonathan Moses.

"Your fall from grace is a punishment in itself," Judge Moses said during sentencing.

Former Warriors star Manu Vatuvei sentenced on meth import charge

The former Warriors star, whose 36th birthday is later this week, pleaded guilty last year to a single representative charge of importing the Class A drug. The offence carries a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.

He and brother Lopini Lautau Mafi, 49, who pleaded guilty to the same offence, appeared before Judge Jonathan Moses in Manukau District Court today - Vatuvei in person and Mafi via audio-video feed. Mafi was sentenced to seven years and two months' prison.

NRL icon Manu Vatuvei faces life in prison after pleading guilty to drug import scandal.

The former Warriors player, 35, admitted the crime while appearing at a mostly empty courtroom in Manukau, an area of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island, on Wednesday alongside his lawyer.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Vatuvei is set to be sentenced in December.

Judge Jonathan Moses allowed Vatuvei to remain free on bail, with tight curfew restrictions, until then.

Rugby league star Manu Vatuvei pleads guilty in meth importation case

The 35-year-old appeared in the Manukau District Court this morning.

He was due to stand trial this week on charges of importing methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine for supply.

But he has now entered a guilty plea through his lawyer Vivienne Feyen to a representative importation charge.

Feyen told the court Vatuvei accepted responsibility for his offending.

Vatuvei has been remanded on bail ahead of his sentencing in December.

The Crown has indicated it will withdraw the remaining charges at sentencing.

Manu Vatuvei has brain cyst

The former New Zealand Warriors star - the team's all-time leading try scorer - has not played since 2017, leaving Salford Red Devils in Super League in 2018 after rupturing his Achilles.

Vatuvei moved into boxing but told reporters on Wednesday a scan before his first fight against David Letele in December, which he won by knockout, revealed the cyst.

"I've got a cyst in my brain, so that's been tough," Vatuvei said. "No symptoms, no nothing.

Injury forces early termination of Manu Vatuvei's contract with Salford

After playing the side's final eight matches of 2017, Vatuvei has taken no part in the current Super League season after severely damaging his Achilles tendon in a freak training accident in February.

His contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but the 32-year-old will part ways with the Red Devils immediately.

"Unfortunately, the injury Manu sustained in pre-season meant that he would be out for the full season," said Salford director Ian Blease.

Vatuvei pulls up for Salford

Vatuvei left the Warriors in July to sign with the English club Salford. He has scored five tries in eight appearances with the Red Devils.

Salford have released a statement saying Vatuvei had suffered a suspected serious Achilles injury.

The 31-year-old wing is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the severity of the injury, which he suffered in training on Friday.

"It's terribly unfortunate that Manu has sustained an injury this close to the start of the season," said Salford head coach Ian Watson.

Vatuvei out to make an impact

Vatuvei departed the Warriors last week after 13 years with the Auckland-based NRL club, and has already arrived in the north of England to join his new Super League side.

The 31-year-old Vatuvei only played once for the Warriors this season due to calf and knee injuries, but was keen to get started with Salford.

"I want to make sure I do everything as best as I can for the new club," Vatuvei said. "I don't want to come here and not perform and not do my job."

NZ Warriors fans honour 'The Beast'

Vatuvei on Monday confirmed he had been granted an early release to join Super League club Salford, with the 31-year-old due to depart for the UK on Sunday.

For one night only, Mt Smart has been temporarily renamed 'Manu Vatuvei Stadium' and while his new contract prevented from playing one last game for the Auckland club, his soon-to-be ex-teammates formed a guard of honour as 'The Beast' walked onto the field with his family wearing the No 5 jersey he has held a mortgage on for more than a decade. He shed a few tears as he walked out to the rapturous applause.