Former Giant Fielden in plea to brother's critics
FORMER Giants prop Jamie Fielden has issued a plea to the critics of younger brother Stuart to leave him alone.
The Great Britain prop has failed to make an effective impact in the Tri-Nations series so far.
But Jamie has revealed the 27-year-old Wigan front-rower is still coming to terms with the loss of his mother Marylyn, who died of liver cancer on the eve of the Lions' departure for Australia a month ago.
Fielden, right, the world's costliest player following his £450,000 move from Bradford this summer, had contemplated withdrawing from the tour.
But Jamie has spoken out "to put everything into perspective".
"Mum and Stuart were very close, as were the rest of us," he said.
"She went to watch every single game he played. When he found out about her illness he had planned to take mum and her friend to Australia to watch the games, but she deteriorated at such a rapid rate.
"It all happened very quickly and it hit Stuart hard. She died very shortly before they were due to set off for Australia.
"But we persuaded him to go because that's what she would definitely have wanted. He has still to come to terms with it in his head.
"I just hope now this is out in the open, the critics will leave him alone and let him get on with his rugby."
Fielden, who has two brothers and two sisters, is widely recognised as one of the game's leading props. But his effectiveness has also been reduced by a knee injury sustained in Great Britain's warm-up match in Newcastle.
He then played little part in Britain's 23-12 win over Australia in Sydney last Saturday after taking an early blow to the face from Willie Mason, who was handed a one-match ban after being found guilty of striking.
The incident outraged Jamie and thousands of television viewers.
"Apparently, after he took that blow to his head, he couldn't remember much and he thought mum was still here," said Jamie.
"The team had to tell him again. Stuart's doing it tough at the moment but he will bounce back. He just needs time.
"I speak to him all the time and I love him to death.
"I'm the proudest brother in the world."
Coach Brian Noble has named an unchanged side for Saturday's match in Wellington, so Giants winger Martin Aspinwall again misses out.