World Cup winning All Black Mils Muliaina says he can hold his head up high after a prosecution against him for allegedly groping a young woman's backside in a crowded Welsh night club was thrown out.
The 100-test international also spoke out against the manner of his arrest, which was aired on live TV straight after a top flight European rugby match.
A sexual assault charge against Muliaina was dropped last night when the Crown conceded there was not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
After an appearance in the Cardiff Crown Court, an emotional Muliaina, who strenuously denied any wrongdoing, told reporters he'd had a tough seven months.
"When I heard that the charges were to be withdrawn, my immediate thoughts were with my son. He should never have been put through what he went through.
"I'm looking forward to going back to New Zealand in a few days. We want to put this behind us and move on. It's been a long process.
"I don't know the girl or know what happened. All I know is that I'm not the person that had done what she said."
Muliaina, 35, was accused of touching a 19-year-old woman "on he bottom over her trousers" on a busy nightclub nightclub dance floor.
It was alleged the incident took place in the Welsh capital of Cardiff on March 7, hours after Muliaina played for Irish side Connacht in an away game against the Cardiff Blues.
The fullback was arrested after the final whistle of his team's European Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Gloucester in April.
Still in his team tracksuit, he was captured by TV cameras as he was led away to a police van.
"I always knew I never did anything wrong. The way I was treated, I suppose I was a bit aggrieved by it," Muliaina said.
"Not being able to comment publicly has been very frustrating. While I understand the police have a job to do, the manner in which I was arrested I find difficult to understand.
"I can still hold my head up high and, as the judge said, this is no stain on my character."
Muliaina thanked friends, family, his new club, Zebre in Italy, and even strangers for supporting him.
Wales News reported Muliaina's defence lawyer John Charles Rees, QC, saying the decision to prosecute was "outrageous".
"It has ben nothing but wholly inefficient conduct by the [Crown Prosecution Service].
"My client's reputation has been traduced while the complainant remains anonymous."
Muliaina wanted the trial to go ahead, so he could be found not guilty and clear his name, Mr Rees said.
"It's just wrong that they've now offered no evidence at this late stage. My client has had this matter hanging over his head for some time.
"He's a professional rugby player and this case has done damage to his reputation."
Mr Rees said he would look at have Muliaina's legal costs reimbursed.
Muliaina's New Zealand-based agent Simon Porter this morning added his voice to the criticism of the public manner of the arrest.
"I could not be happier for Mils and those closest to him," said Mr Porter, of the Essentially Group.
"Of course the police must investigate any allegation and no one is above the law. However, as a lawyer, I have found it difficult to reconcile the manner of his arrest with the presumption of innocence.
"It was simply unnecessary to drag him off a rugby pitch under intense global media scrutiny. Unfortunately, it was a demonstration of police grandstanding at its worst," Mr Porter said.
"Mils is an outstanding individual and his patience and willingness to co-operate with the Cardiff police over the last seven months is testament to this.
"I always knew this day would come. Throughout the ordeal Mils has always held his head high and maintained his dignity. Now hopefully Mils, his family, friends and supporters can move on."
New Zealand Rugby Players' Association chief executive Rob Nichol also criticised Cardiff police, saying the "manner of his arrest was poor".
Muliaina made his All Blacks debut against England in 2003. He played 102 matches for the All Blacks and cracked 100 tests in his final outing, New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Argentina at Eden Park.
Injury ruled him out of the rest of the tournament but he picked up a winner's medal. He retired from international rugby in 2011, and finished his test career with 170 points and 34 tries.
Muliaina also won a gold medal for the New Zealand sevens team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and a Super Rugby title with the Blues in 2003.
After the World Cup Muliaina took a contract with Japanese club side the Docomo Red Hurricanes, based in Osaka, where he played three seasons before signing a deal with Connacht. He left Connacht at the end of last season, and has since agreed on a deal to play for Zebre.