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Mealamu out of tour

EDINBURGH, November 9- All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu is set to miss the remainder of New Zealand's 'grand slam' tour after being banned for four weeks for headbutting England captain Lewis Moody during a 26-16 victory at Twickenham last weekend.

That suspension, up to and including December 4, rules Mealamu out of this Saturday’s match against Scotland at Murrayfield and the ensuing fixtures away to Ireland and Wales in Dublin and Cardiff on November 20 and 27 respectively.

It also means Mealamu will miss the Barbarians non-cap international against world champions South Africa at Twickenham on December 4.

However, he does have the right of appeal.

Television footage of last Saturday’s incident appeared to show Mealamu grabbing Moody by the jersey and then diving forward, making contact with the back of the flanker’s head.

Mealamu was charged by citing commissioner John West and at a hearing in Edinburgh on Tuesday was given a four-week ban by International Rugby Board (IRB) judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar, who found him guilty of "an intentional act of foul play".

His punishment might have been worse as Crerar determined a mid-range entry point of eight weeks in the IRB list of sanctions for the offence.

But in the absence of aggravating factors, together with what an IRB statement said were "compelling mitigating factors including Mealamu’s conduct at the hearing and his exemplary disciplinary record", Crerar reduced the suspension to four weeks.

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New Zealand coach Graham Henry is due to name his side to play Scotland on Thursday.

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