Italy 22-15 Ireland, Six Nations
O'Driscoll sweats on possible citing
March 16, 2013
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll sits out the action having been sin-binned during the Stadio Olimpico clash © PA Photos
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll faces an anxious wait to see if he will be citied for his stamp on Italy's Simone Favaro during their Six Nations clash in Rome on Saturday.
O'Driscoll was sin-binned for the challenge that occurred in the first half of Ireland's shock 22-15 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico. Citing commissioner Aurwel Morgan of the Welsh Rugby Union has until 2.30pm on Monday to decide if the offence warrants further action.
A frustrated O'Driscoll clearly lifted his right leg and brought it down on to the chest of Favaro who was lying on the wrong side of the ruck. The incident marred what many suspect will be O'Driscoll's final appearance in an Ireland shirt with the 34-year-old rumoured to be considering retiring at the end of the season.
However, reports have suggested that O'Driscoll may now be keen to play on with Saturday's shocker no way for arguably his country's greatest player to bring the curtain down on his Ireland career. O'Driscoll has shown some exceptional form during this year's Six Nations that is set to be rewarded with what would be his fourth tour with the British & Irish Lions and Ireland coach Declan Kidney believes he still has plenty to offer at Test level.
"Brian has had a strong Six Nations. He was outstanding against Wales and had a good match against France. I thought he did well against Italy too," Kidney said. "He's earned the space and time to be able to make up his own mind. Players are the only ones who know when the time is right to go."
Kidney's own future is in doubt after his side only avoided finishing bottom of the Six Nations table on points difference. The loss to Italy was their first in the history of the Six Nations and set the seal on their worst championship performance since 1999, when they also finished second from bottom, one place above France on points difference.
Ireland have not been helped by a catalogue of injuries to key personnel but it remains to be seen whether that sympathy is enough to earn him a new deal with the former Munster boss out of contract at the end of the season.
"I said all along that I'd concentrate on each game as it came and that's all I did with Italy," Kidney said. "I wasn't thinking that it could be my last match as coach, all I was concentrating on was getting the win.
"I wanted to get a result, we didn't manage to do that and we'll reflect on it over the coming days and weeks. I'd have to sit down and think about whether I want a new contract. These guys are a pleasure to work with, but beyond that I'd have to sit back and think about it."
Kidney has received strong support from flanker Peter O'Mahony, did his best to shield the coaching team from criticism. "The players should take the blame for what's happened. We've been given every opportunity to go out and play for Ireland," O'Mahony said. "It has to come down to the players, I don't know where the stick aimed at the coaches is coming from.
"We're the ones who have made decisions on the pitch and have made mistakes at times. It's on our heads, we're the ones who are not delivering. All 23 of us in the squad against Italy and everyone in the extended training squad are 100% behind the coaching staff. That will be the case until they move on, which hopefully won't be any time soon."
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