Te Puke rugby player Nathan Harris has been cleared of a rape allegation in South Africa and police there have closed their case.
South African authorities had advised the NZRU and Harris, a member of the New Zealand Under-20 squad, that after investigating the complaint they would not be prosecuting, the NZRU said.
Harris said he was pleased and relieved that he had been cleared.
"The past three months has been an incredibly difficult time for me and my family and now I want to put this matter behind me," he said.
He thanked his family, friends and the rugby community for their support but said he was disappointed his experience with the squad had been marred by the allegation.
"My focus is now on getting on with playing rugby and I'll be working hard to prove that I can be a good asset for any team I am lucky enough to be involved in," he said.
Neil Sorensen, NZRU general manager professional rugby, said the NZRU was pleased the South African authorities had closed the matter. "Nathan has already publicly acknowledged that he breached team rules when he allowed a woman to come back to his room after the final of the Junior World Cup in South Africa in June. We consider Nathan's actions in breaching the team rules to be misconduct, and after considering all the circumstances we have decided that the matter will be recorded as a warning on his file. We now consider the chapter closed."
A Harris family member said the news was "a sigh of relief". "I'm not really going to say too much about it at the moment. We might say something later on but at this time we're busy. He's in the middle of ITM Cup and stuff." He said Harris was trying to get on with his life. "From the start he's just tried to get on with it."
Harris, a hooker for the Baby Blacks, outed himself in June as the player accused of raping a 22-year-old woman at a Cape Town hotel on the night of his side's Junior World Championship defeat by South Africa a week earlier. The 20-year-old from Te Puke said he had gone public to save his teammates from suspicion.
At the time he apologised for breaking team rules by allowing a woman into his room but said "very strongly" that he was innocent of the rape allegation.APNZ