Mealamu ban reduced following appeal

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The Independent Online

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has had his four-week ban for striking an opponent with his head reduced to two weeks following an appeal hearing in Edinburgh.

The 31-year-old was last Sunday cited for an apparent headbutt on Lewis Moody during New Zealand's 26-16 victory over England at Twickenham.

New Zealand head coach Graham Henry named the hooker in his starting XV for tomorrow's match with Scotland at Murrayfield with the All Blacks appealing Tuesday's decision.

An International Rugby Board appeal committee chaired by South Africa's Peter Ingwersen met in Edinburgh today and determined the incident was not intentional, halving the ban and permitting Mealamu to return to action on Monday, November 22.

With Mealamu suspended for this week's game and next week's match with Ireland in Dublin, the uncapped Hikawera Elliot will line up at hooker for tomorrow's match against Scotland.

The 82-Test veteran will be permitted to return for the November 28 meeting with Wales in Cardiff.