O'Driscoll gets three-week ban

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:11
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Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll was given a three-week ban Wednesday for stamping on Italy's Simone Favaro.

Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll was given a three-week ban Wednesday for stamping on Italy's Simone Favaro.

As a result, the 34-year-old ex-Ireland captain is now set to miss Leinster's European Challenge Cup quarterfinal against English club Wasps on April 5.

However, the veteran centre, who was suspended by a disciplinary hearing in London until April 8, does have the right of appeal.

The hearing said O'Driscoll's offence was in the mid-range, five-week, level of seriousness but added they were deducting two weeks from that punishment on account of his previously "exemplary" record.

O'Driscoll was sent to the sin-bin for only the second time in his career by referee Wayne Barnes after he was spotted stamping on the chest of flank Favaro during a 15-22 defeat by Italy in Rome last Saturday which rounded off a poor Six Nations campaign for Ireland.

If, as has been speculated, it was O'Driscoll's 125th and final match for Ireland before retirement, which could be preceded by his selection for a fourth British and Irish Lions tour when the party for Australia is announced next month, it was a desperate way for him to bow out in the green jersey.

However, the yellow card - which could have been red - was not the end of the matter, with citing commissioner Aurwel Morgan deciding the incident required further scrutiny.

At Wednesday's hearing, O'Driscoll accepted he'd committed an act of foul play but denied he should have been sent off.

However, a three-man panel chaired by Wales's Robert Williams, assisted by England's Mike Hamlin and John Doubleday, said the midfielder should have seen red at Rome's Olympic Stadium as they upheld the citing complaint.

Explaining their decision to ban O'Driscoll for three weeks, the panel said in a Six Nations statement: "In applying the sanction, the disciplinary committee considered that the stamp, contrary to Law 10.4(b), was in the mid-range of the IRB's [International Rugby Board'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."

AFP

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