All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu’s involvement in New Zealand’s Grand Slam tour is in jeopardy after he was cited for an alleged head butt on England captain Lewis Moody during Saturday’s heated clash at Twickenham.
Mealamu will face an International Rugby Board (IRB) judicial hearing in Edinburgh after citing commissioner John West reviewed footage of the incident which occurred 10 minutes into the second half of the All Blacks 26-16 victory.
Replays appear to indicate Mealamu grasped Moody’s jersey and then made contact with the back of his head when diving into a ruck.
Moody needed treatment after the collision but was able to play on until he was substituted in the final quarter.
British media reports suggested Moody may have made derogatory remarks about Mealamu’s family before the incident
All Blacks coach Graham Henry said management received notification of Mealamu’s citing shortly after the team arrived in Edinburgh ahead of Saturday’s Test with Scotland at Murrayfield.
“It surprises me. He’s probably the cleanest player in the world isn’t he?,” said Henry, who said he had not yet seen a replay of the incident.
“It was purely accidental as far as I know.”
Henry said he had not yet discussed the issue with one of the key members of his leadership group.
Mealamu is reviled in the UK and Ireland for his role in a spear tackle that injured 2005 British and Irish Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll in the opening minutes of that series.
The All Blacks rake has cause to be worried – South Africa’s Baakies Botha received a nine-week suspension for a similar incident on Mealamu’s NZ team mate Jimmy Cowan earlier this year.
Was Mealamu malicious? Judge for yourself here and comment below