All Blacks’ hooker Keven Mealamu has been banned for four weeks after
being found guilty of head-butting England skipper Lewis Moody in last
weekend’s Test at Twickenham.
An International Rugby Board (IRB)
judicial hearing handed down the suspension for the incident
in the 50th minute of the All Blacks’ 26-16 victory over the English.
Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen indicated there may be an appeal
within the next 48 hours but if the suspension stands, Mealamu will be
ruled out of the remainder of the All Blacks’ grand slam tour, starting
with this weekend’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield.
The All Blacks then play Ireland in Dublin before ending their tour in Wales.
very disappointed. We’ve got 48 hours to appeal it, there’s a good
likelihood that’s what we’re going to do,” Hansen said.
the hearing All Black coaches and players expressed concern Mealamu was
cited while England hooker Dylan Hartley avoided scrutiny for striking
All Blacks’ captain Richie McCaw with his elbow and forearm in the 65th
minute of an occasionally fractious clash.
Hansen said he did not raise All Blacks’ concerns about apparent inconsistencies in the judicial system during the hearing.
not anything to do with the hearing itself. There has been major
inconsistencies but that’s not the job of the hearing tonight. That’s a
conversation we’ll have with some other people,” he said.
hooker Hika Elliot is expected to start against Scotland while Andrew
Hore will also feature in his return from shoulder surgery.
Mealamu was contrite after the verdict.
“I’m pretty gutted to be honest,” he said.
don’t feel the outcome really shows the sort of person I am. I’ve
played over 100 Super rugby games, 82 Tests and I’ve never had any foul
play or anything. I feel really disappointed.
“I do take it personally because I’m not that kind of person.”
and the New Zealand Rugby Union’s UK-based legal representative Owen
Eastwood argued it was Mealamu’s shoulder that connected with Moody and
the action was part of a legitimate clean out at a ruck.