Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll faces an anxious wait to see if he will be banned for an alleged stamp during the final weekend of international action prior to the summer tour of Australia.
The 2001, 2005 and 2009 Lion has been cited following an incident with Italian flanker Simone Favaro during Ireland’s defeat in Rome on Saturday.
O’Driscoll was sinbinned for bringing his foot down on Favaro’s chest just before the half-hour mark at the Stadio Olimpico as his side lost to the Azzurri for the first time since 1997.
It was just the second time the 34-year-old had been yellow carded in his 14-year professional career.
The tournament organizers released a short statement confirming the citing complaint but haven’t yet announced a date or the venue for O’Driscoll’s hearing.
"Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland centre, has been cited by the independent citing commissioner for an alleged stamping or trampling on an opponent, contrary to Law 10.4 (b), in the RBS 6 Nations match between Italy and Ireland on Saturday 16th March 2013. Details of the Hearing will be announced later," read the statement.
The low-end sanction for stamping is two weeks, the mid-range punishment is five weeks and the top-end is from nine weeks to a year, so only a surprisingly severe sanction could prevent him from featuring for the Lions in June, if selected.
A ban of any sorts would be a blow for the star centre, though, as he looks to secure a spot on a fourth successive tour with Britain and Ireland’s elite.
O’Driscoll received plenty of praise after his fine showing in Ireland’s win over Wales in early February but he hasn’t hit those same heights since as Declan Kidney’s men failed to win any of the four games that followed.
O’Driscoll’s Ireland colleague Cian Healy was banned for three weeks last month after being found guilty of stamping on England’s Dan Cole and a similar punishment for the former Lions skipper would see him miss domestic and European action with Leinster.