All Blacks to appeal Mealamu ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks to appeal Mealamu ban

By Chris Barclay 10/11/2010 11:54:48 PM Comments (0)

The All Blacks will appeal hooker Keven Mealamu's four-week ban imposed by an International Rugby Board (IRB) judicial hearing after he was found guilty of head butting England captain Lewis Moody during last weekend's Test at Twickenham.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen confirmed an appeal will be lodged and possibly heard by a three-member IRB panel on Friday.

Unless the appeal is successful, Mealamu's grand slam tour ended last night when Scottish IRB judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar determined the 82-cap veteran struck the back of Moody's head at a ruck in the 50th minute of the All Blacks 26-16 victory on Sunday (NZT).

Hansen, who formed part of Mealamu's defence team during the two hour hearing, said All Blacks management was determined to protect Mealamu's reputation.

"We're defending a guy who's character has been questioned and it shouldn't be," he said.

"He's a one-off special person. He hasn't got a dirty bone in his body.

"He's not a dirty player, he never has been. This is a case we'll go to the death on."

It is understood Mealamu's defence centred on the claim he made contact with Moody with his shoulder, not his head.

If the ban is rescinded there was no guarantee Mealamu would be selected to play Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday (NZT).

"It's been quite emotional for Kevvy," said Hansen, who indicated the uncapped Hawke's Bay hooker Hika Elliot was likely to make his Test debut.

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