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Mealamu banned for Moody headbutt

Hooker Keven Mealamu is set to miss the remainder of New Zealand's northern hemisphere tour after being handed a four-week ban for headbutting Lewis Moody in the All Blacks' 26-16 victory over England at Twickenham last Saturday.

Television footage of the incident showed Mealamu grabbing Moody by the jersey and then diving forward, making contact with the back of the England captain's head.

The International Rugby Board's citing commissioner John West on Sunday night charged Mealamu with contravening Law 10.4a, "striking with the head" and a hearing in Glasgow issued the suspension.

The 31-year-old is set to miss Saturday's match with Scotland at Murrayfield as well as the remainder of the All Blacks tour - fixtures against Ireland in Dublin on November 21 and Wales in Cardiff a week later. However, Mealamu has the right of appeal.

The appeal must be launched within 48 hours.

IRB judicial officer Lorne Crerar led the hearing and implemented the ban on the veteran of 82 Tests, who was represented by New Zealand Rugby Union lawyer Owen Eastwood and forwards coach Steve Hansen.

Mealamu said: "I'm gutted to be honest, really disappointed. I don't feel the outcome shows what sort of person I am.

"I've played more than 100 Super games and 82 Tests and never had any foul play against me. I do take it personally. I'm not that sort of person."

Mealamu's ban means All Blacks coach Graham Henry is set to turn to uncapped Hawke's Bay hooker Hika Elliot when he names his XV for Saturday's Test on Thursday.

Andrew Hore is the other hooker in the squad, but is short of match practice.


From Belfast Telegraph