Moody denies provoking Mealamu - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Moody denies provoking Mealamu

12/11/2010 07:54:47 AM Comments (0)

England captain Lewis Moody has denied provoking New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu before the head-butt which led to the All Blacks forward being banned for four weeks.

Rumours which have surfaced in New Zealand press reports suggested Moody had made insulting comments concerning Mealamu's family shortly before the front row stalwart launched himself at the England player.

But Moody insisted Thursday he was mystified by reports he had sought to provoke Mealamu, saying he had not said anything to the player.

"Absolutely nothing," Moody said.

"I certainly didn't say anything."

Mealamu will learn on Friday whether his appeal in Edinburgh against a tour-ending four-week ban has been successful.

Video footage of the incident appeared to show Mealamu grabbing Moody by the shirt collar and launching himself at the back of the England flanker's head as he lay prone on the ground.

New Zealand officials have vowed to "fight to the death" to overturn the ban, reportedly arguing Mealamu struck Moody's shoulder and was attempting a legitimate clean-out at a ruck.

The All Blacks on Thursday named Mealamu in their side to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, holding out hope the veteran hooker may yet be available to play.

"We were always intending to play him and we hope we can," said New Zealand head coach Graham Henry.

"He's a very important part of our team. He's a top man, he's got very high personal standards - he sees himself as a role model for young people.

"He's a bit destroyed about what's happened. Once the appeal is over, hopefully we'll get a positive result and move on."

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