New Zealand Rugby Union judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC dismissed a charge of foul play against Southland second five-eighth Matt Saunders yesterday.

Saunders was cited for allegedly striking Taranaki loose forward Kane Barrett during his team's ITM Cup match against Taranaki in Invercargill on Sunday.

Taranaki won the match 47-18.

The citing commissioner had initially determined, within the required 12-hour period after the match for a citing, that no citing would follow.


However a citing was subsequently filed after Taranaki sought a review.

After considering pre-hearing written submissions from Saunders' representatives, Hampton ruled the hearing would not proceed because the citing was lodged outside the 12-hour period, a time-frame provided for because of the "compressed" nature of the competition, and there were no "extraordinary circumstances" which would allow the citing period to be extended.