Benetton Treviso second row Antonio Pavanello will miss the start of the Six Nations after he was suspended for two weeks for a stamp.
The 29-year-old has been one of the stars for the Italian side this season as they have impressed in the RaboDirect PRO12 recording wins in Connacht, Ulster and Glasgow on their way to eighth in the league.
However Pavanello was cited for stamping Saracens No.8 Jackson Wray late in Treviso’s 26-20 Heineken Cup defeat last weekend.
It comes as a huge blow for Pavanello who was hoping to add to his five Azzurri caps, the last won in 2009, after being named in new coach Jacques Brunel’s Six Nations squad.
Instead he will be unavailable for the opening clash away to France in Paris, although his suspension ends two days later making him available for the RaboDirect PRO12 trip to league leaders Leinster on February 9.
An ERC statement read: "The Judicial Officer decided that the offence was at the low-end entry point of two weeks, and he imposed a suspension of two weeks.
"Pavanello will be free to play on Monday, 6 February. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision."