Keven Mealamu admitted to a sense of relief after his four-week ban for striking an opponent with his head was halved.
Last Updated: 12/11/10 10:17pm
New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu admitted to a sense of relief after his four-week ban for striking an opponent with his head was halved following an appeal hearing in Edinburgh.
The 31-year-old was cited for an apparent headbutt on Lewis Moody during New Zealand's 26-16 victory over England at Twickenham last Saturday.
An International Rugby Board appeal committee met in Edinburgh on Friday and determined the incident was not intentional, halving the ban and permitting Mealamu to return to action on Monday, November 22.
Mealamu said: "For me there's a lot of relief. It's been a tough week having something like this hang over my head. I've never, ever played the game to ever hurt anyone.
"To finally get this come through to say the way I did things was pretty reckless is a lot better than saying I intentionally tried to headbutt someone.
"I feel a lot better and I'll take a lot more care the next time I do a clean-out like that again."
Mealamu, who has won 82 caps, will be able to return for the November 27 meeting with Wales in Cardiff.