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Mealamu cited after Moody clash

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has been cited for an apparent head-butt on Lewis Moody in the All Blacks' 26-16 victory over England at Twickenham.

Television footage of the incident appears to show 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 tonight charged Mealamu with contravening Law 10.4a, "striking with the head".

Mealamu will face the minimum of a one-month ban if he is found guilty. The IRB-appointed judicial officer, Professor Lorne Crerar, will hear the case at a date and venue to be confirmed.

All Blacks head coach Graham Henry said: "He's been cited for striking the head. It surprises me. He's probably the cleanest player in the world isn't he? It was purely accidental as far as I know."

It is understood that Mealamu is to be the only player cited from the Twickenham clash.

New Zealand arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday ahead of the next leg of their autumn Test series, against Scotland next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Wellington prop Neemia Tialata has been called into the All Blacks squad for the remainder of the tour to replace Ben Franks, who has a small disc bulge in his lower back.

Franks, who had been due to start on the bench against England, suffered the injury during a stretching session at the team hotel on Friday evening and will now return home.

Henry said: "It's obviously a huge disappointment for Ben but he understands that it's in his best interests to go home and rehabilitate. Neemia's ability to play both tighthead and loosehead makes him the logical choice to replace Ben."


From Belfast Telegraph