BRIAN O’DRISCOLL WILL face a citing hearing in London tomorrow for his alleged stamp on Simone Favaro in Ireland’s 22-15 Six Nations defeat by Italy, tournament organisers have announced.
The 34-year-old centre — who is widely expected to have played his last game for Ireland before he eventually retires — was sin-binned for the incident by referee Wayne Barnes. However, on further viewing, citing commissioner Aurwel Morgan decided he should face a disciplinary hearing.
Former Ireland captain O’Driscoll brought his right leg down on to the chest of flanker Simone Favaro at Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday — a sign of the visitors’ frustration as they suffered their first Six Nations loss to Italy.
O’Driscoll’s sin-binning was only the second of a 14-year career, including 125 caps for Ireland, which should stand in his favour when he appears before the hearing.
Nevertheless, O’Driscoll– who is expected to be selected for his fourth British and Irish Lions tour when coach Warren Gatland announces his squad next month for the series in Australia — was fortunate to escape with a yellow card as stamping is normally regarded as a sending-off offence.
The recommended suspension for a low-end stamping offence is two weeks, with the mid-range five weeks and top-end nine weeks, up to a maximum of one year.
Now Leinster will hope the result of tomorrow’s hearing leaves O’Driscoll free to play for the Irish province in their European Challenge Cup quarter-final with England’s Wasps on April and for as much of the remainder of their Celtic League campaign as possible.