RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Ospreys have been dealt a blow after their stand-in captain Justin Tipuric was given a three-week suspension.
The flanker has been in outstanding form for the opening six rounds of competition has played a major role in leading the Ospreys to a perfect six victories.
But, in the same week that Wales captain Sam Warburton received a three week ban for his tip tackle on Vincent Clerc in the World Cup semi-final, Tipuric received an identical punishment for same offence.
The incident occurred in their 17-13 victory over Munster on October 8 for which he was yellow carded but it was retrospectively deemed worthy of a red card and as a result the back rower will be banned until October 31.
With Welsh internationals like Ryan Jones due to be back in the fold, the 22-year-old could find his path back to the first team blocked.
However, the punishment could have been more severe and Ospreys Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Hore added: “We are satisfied with the way the citing was dealt with, and the manner in which the hearing was held, and believe that the whole experience is a justification of the decision to introduce independent disciplinary procedures.”