Salford release former New Zealand international Manu Vatuvei

Salford have released former New Zealand international Manu Vatuvei from the
five months remaining on his contract.

Vatuvei, who turned 32 in March, joined the Red Devils in July and played in the last eight matches of their 2017 campaign but severely damaged his Achilles tendon in a freak training accident a week before the opening match of the 2018 season.

He was contracted to the end of the year but has now agreed an early release.

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

“We had hoped that Manu would have played a significant part in our 2018 campaign however we now feel that it is best for both parties for Manu to return home.

“Everyone at the club would like to wish Manu the best of luck for the future.”

Highlights of Huddersfield Giants' 24-16 victory over Salford Red Devils.

Vatuvei, who earned his nickname “The Beast” through his size and potency on the wing, scored 152 tries in 226 games for New Zealand Warriors and was a member of the Kiwis team that won the 2008 World Cup.

He went on to represent Tonga and was in the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup last November.

Salford have been actively seeking a replacement but lost out to Toronto in their pursuit of Matty Russell and were beaten by Castleford to the signature of Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e.