Confirmed: O'Brien banned for incident during France game

Sean O'Brien during the game against France
Sean O'Brien during the game against France

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt must now plan without flanker Sean O'Brien after he was banned for one week, but will be available for selection should Ireland reach a World Cup semi-final.

O’Brien was cited for an alleged act of foul play during the 24-9 victory over France yesterday after appearing to strike France lock Pascal Pape in the first minute of the intense World Cup clash in Cardiff.

He admitted committing the act of foul play, but Judicial Officer Terry Willis deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of two weeks. O’Brien’s conduct prior to and at the hearing, his remorse, good character and clean disciplinary record, and reduced the suspension to a period of one week.

O’Brien has 48 hours in which to appeal.

Ireland powered to a victory that secured a last-eight meeting with Argentina on Sunday, with O'Brien landing the official man-of-the-match award.

French head coach Philippe Saint-Andre was scathing of the match officials following the incident.

"It was an assault after 23 seconds of the game," said Saint-Andre.

"I hope the next time the TMO will really do his job.

"Since the beginning of the competition on whatever matter is concerned, try or injury, we return to a review of the images.

"In this case they do no such thing."

Post-match Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt defended the powerful backrower.

“I think he's being held and he swung. It's not a closed fist, but it's not a decision for me. I'd be hopeful,” he said.

Declan Whooley