Stomping charge dismissed for prop Matt Fetu
Celtic loosehead prop Matt Fetu has been cleared of an alleged stomping by the South Canterbury Rugby Union's complaints officer.
SCRU board member Stephen McFarlane said the complaints review officer had watched the video and talked to the referee.
"He is unable to find evidence to support the complaint made by Mr Rankin."
Spectator Robbie Rankin had alleged Fetu stomped on the head of one of the Old Boys forwards while on the ground, and also threw a flurry of punches, during the final round of senior rugby at Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday.
The review officer Kevin Scannell said the yellow card issued was sufficient punishment for the incident that happened in the final minutes of the game.
Celtic coach Nigel Walsh has come out strongly in the defence of his experienced front rower, who he said was a clean player and a role model.
"Matty has earned the respect and rapport within the rugby community throughout New Zealand and you don't get that if you are a dirty player.
"You do not become New Zealand Marist ‘player of the year' and be selected for the New Zealand Heartland team three years running by having a bad history."
Walsh said Fetu gave a lot of his time to the JAB and not only Celtic but also helped other clubs, including Roncalli College.
Walsh said Fetu was upset that his name had been dragged through the mud without foundation.
"I would hope the complainant ... is as quick with giving Matt Fetu a public apology.
"Matt is known in the rugby community as an honest and fair player."
Walsh was also unhappy with the process that allowed people to make accusations and in this case go to the judiciary without the support of their club.
Rankin is a member of the Old Boys Rugby Club but sent the complaint of his own volition.
The Celtic Rugby Club was also disappointed in the process, as they were unaware their player had been cited as they had no contact from the SCRU until they heard he had been cleared.
McFarlane said the union took very seriously all complaints made to SCRU.
"It was very important that this complaint, and indeed any complaint, is dealt with formally, through a proper process, looking at all available evidence and I am confident that is the case here," McFarlane said
While the NZRU rules do not allow complaints from the general public the SCRU have taken a wider view.
McFarlane said they do occasionally receive letters of complaint from members of the public, be they about bad language, sideline behaviour or on the field behaviour.
"We always take them seriously because it is important that we are delivering a game into the community that is reflective of community values.
"Mr Rankin raised serious issues of alleged foul play, which we felt were important enough to warrant further investigation."
Therefore the SCRU acted as Rankin's nominee.
- The Timaru Herald