Brian O'Driscoll has been suspended for three weeks for stamping on Italy's Simone Favaro in last weekend's 22-15 Six Nations defeat in Rome.

O'Driscoll was cited after he was sent to the sin-bin for only the second time in his 14-year professional career in the first half of the match at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Leinster player lifted his right leg and brought it down on to the chest of Favaro, and admitted a charge of foul play before an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee. 

However, he did contest that it warranted a red card.

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.

The charge could have carried a suspension of up to five weeks, but the committee felt that it fell into the mid-range of offences.

O'Driscoll will now miss Leinster's RaboDirect Pro12 games against Glasgow and Ulster, along with the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wasps, and is suspended until Monday, 8 April.

His contract expires in the summer and while publicly he has stated he is undecided over his future, it is thought that in private he views the forthcoming British & Irish Lions tour as his farewell.

It will be his fourth tour with the Lions and a Test series victory over Australia would offer a fitting farewell for one of the game's greatest players.

The attrition rate of recent matches has taken its toll - against France alone he was concussed and sustained a lacerated ear and dead leg - while ankle surgery forced him to miss the autumn internationals.