Chips trip former All Black Joeli Vidiri

ROB KIDD
Last updated 14:42 11/07/2014
ALL BLACKS GREAT: Joeli Vidiri.
Lawrence Smith
ALL BLACKS GREAT: Joeli Vidiri.

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As a wing for the All Blacks and Counties Manukau, it took more than a bag of chips to stop Joeli Vidiri.

But 13 years after retiring from rugby, it was a salty snack that tripped the Fiji-born rugby icon.

On April 28, Vidiri was driving his car down Carruth Rd in Papatoetoe, South Auckland, approaching the intersection with Puhinui Rd.

The line of traffic had stopped for a red light but Vidiri – who works at Mitre 10 Mega – ploughed into the back of the car in front.

He was subsequently charged with careless driving and a police summary of facts revealed the culprit.

"The defendant stated he became distracted while reaching for some chips on the front passenger seat," it stated.

Vidiri, who like his ex-All Black team-mate Jonah Lomu has kidney disease, had been on his way home from hospital.

Patients with kidney problems are advised to stay away from foods with a high salt content.

However, the 40-year-old said he had been "in a good mood" after finishing a course of treatment and afforded himself the snack.

Vidiri is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, so he could have chosen a better vehicle to crash into.

It was only when he got out to inspect the damage that he realised the car in front belonged to Counties Manukau District Health Board.

When it was suggested the nose-to-tail might drop him a few spots down the waiting list, Vidiri laughed.

He was sentenced on the careless driving charge in Manukau District Court, less than 5 kilometres from Vidiri Court – a road named after him in Flat Bush.

He was fined $500.

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