Tributes have poured from the rugby community and beyond for Sgt Matiu ‘Matt’ Ratana, the rugby coach shot dead in the line of duty in London yesterday.


Known as ‘Matt’ Ratana, the 54-year-old was shot in the chest when checking in a suspect in Croydon in what has been described as a senseless killing. Ratana was shot while the suspect was handcuffed the police have confirmed.

He is survived by a partner and by an adult son from a previous relationship. He would have been eligible for retirement in just two months’ time.

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The New Zealand born Ratana was head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Football Club, who have issued the following statement: “East Grinstead Rugby Football Club are utterly devastated to hear the tragic news that the Police Sergeant who lost his life in Croydon, was our Head Coach, Matt Ratana.

“Matt was an inspiring and much-loved figure at the club and there are truly no words to describe how we are feeling.

“We would like to take some time as a club and community to begin to comprehend what has happened.

“Our deepest and sincerest condolences go to Matt’s loved ones, family, friends, colleagues and to our community rugby family at this most terrible time.”


London Irish, where Ratana had played at an amateur level, said: “London Irish rugby club is saddened to learn of the passing of Matthew Ratana. Ratana – who played for London Irish amateurs – tragically passed away in south London on Friday whilst serving as a Police Officer. Our thoughts and condolences are with Matthew’s family and friends at this time. May he rest in peace.

“Once an Exile, always an Exile.”

England Rugby said: “Our thoughts and those of the entire rugby family are with the family and friends of Sergeant Matt Ratana.”


“Matt was a leader in rugby and well known as a player on several teams, including the Met. A lovely man, highly respected by colleagues & the public.

“He will be remembered so fondly.”

“New Zealand Police today acknowledges the death of serving @metpoliceuk officer, and former New Zealand Police officer, Sergeant Matiu Ratana, known as Matt.”

Many others paid tribute to the ‘larger than life’ police officer and dedicated rugby coach.

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