Ireland 's Brian O'Driscoll has received a three-week suspension for stamping on Italy flanker Simone Favaro during last Saturday's Six Nations match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Referee Wayne Barnes issued the centre with a yellow card at the time of the incident following the intervention of touch judge Romain Poite.
At a hearing in London before an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee yesterday, O'Driscoll admitted he had committed an act of foul play but denied it warranted a red card. He was accompanied by Ireland team manager Mick Kearney, coach Declan Kidney and solicitor Donal Spring.
The Six Nations statement read: "The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Robert Williams (Wales ) along with Mike Hamlin and John Doubleday (both England ), upheld the citing complaint and determined that the offence warranted a red card.
“In applying the sanction, the Disciplinary Committee considered that the stamp, contrary to Law 10.4(b), was in the mid range (five weeks) of the IRB’s sanctions for the type of offence and, after hearing from Brian O’Driscoll and his representatives, allowed a reduction of two weeks of mitigation, particularly taking into account the player’s exemplary previous playing and disciplinary record. O’Driscoll is suspended until April 8th, 2013 and has the right of appeal.”
He's likely to take up that option because the suspension, as it stands, would rule him out of Leinster's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wasps at Adams Park on Friday, April 5th. The player will also miss RaboDirect Pro 12 matches against Glasgow and Ulster. It was only the second time in his 14-year career that O'Driscoll had received a yellow card.
The Irish delegation will have been disappointed with the findings but will await the written report from the independent disciplinary committee before deciding on a course of action. The central issue in determining the length of the ban appears to be the committee's view that the offence merited a red card.
In the case of fellow Leinster and Ireland international Cian Healy, who was eventually banned for three weeks following a stamp on England prop Dan Cole, a disciplinary committee ruled his transgression, that did not receive any censure during the game from referee Jerome Garces, would have merited a yellow card. Garces did not see the incident and in fact penalised Cole at the ruck in question.
In O’Driscoll’s case the disciplinary committee have overruled Poite’s match-time recommendation, despite the fact the experienced French referee, had an unobstructed view of the incident and deemed the offence to be worthy of a yellow card. If the IRFU do decide to appeal then a date will be set to hear the case at the earliest possible opportunity. There is scope for the original suspension to be increased, decreased or remain the same during the appeal’s procedure.