NEW ZEALAND coach Graham Henry still maintains hope of being able to select hooker Keven Mealamu for tomorrow’s match against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Mealamu was handed a hefty four-week ban for appearing to headbutt England captain Lewis Moody during last weekend’s victory at Twickenham – the uncapped Hikawera Elliot has been pencilled in to take his place.
But Henry remains optimistic that the ban will be overturned, following today’s appeal hearing, and the 82-cap Test veteran will be able to take his place in the All Black’s front row.
“We were always intending to play him and we hope we can,” said 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 has happened. Once the appeal is over, hopefully we’ll get a positive result and move on.”