11 Nov 2010

All Blacks to appeal Mealamu ban

11:36 am on 11 November 2010

The All Blacks will appeal a four-week ban handed down to hooker Keven Mealamu for headbutting the England captain during the test at Twickenham.

The 31-year-old is set to miss the rest of the All Blacks' European tour after being given the ban on Tuesday night.

During the London game Mealamu grabbed Lewis Moody's shirt and appeared to move his head towards the back of the flanker's.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen says Mealamu is not a dirty player and never has been, and this is a case they will go to the death on.

Mealamu denied deliberately striking Moody during Saturday's 26-16 victory, but was still banned by the International Rugby Board at a hearing in Glasgow.

Having beaten England, the All Blacks face Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend, before taking on Ireland and Wales.

Hikawera Elliott is likely to start against Scotland this weekend.