Atonio was sent to the sin-bin after tackling Rob Herring
Tighthead Atonio caught Ireland hooker Rob Herring above the shoulder in a thuddering collision but escaped a red card as referee Wayne Barnes determined that the initial impact came through the chest rather than the chin.
The boos in the Aviva Stadium made it clear that the home faithful felt the New Zealand-born forward should have received the ultimate sanction. And now it appears the citing commissioner agrees with Atonio’s disciplinary hearing set to take place on Wednesday.
Herring initially played on before being hooked for to undergo his HIA and he did not come back onto the field of play with the South African-born front rower now undergoing the return to play protocols with Ireland’s next game away in Italy in just under a fortnight’s time.
La Rochelle’s Atonio is also in danger of missing his side’s next game at home to Scotland on Sunday 26 February if he picks up a suspension.
The Six Nations confirmed Atonio has been cited for an act of foul play contrary to law 9.13 which states: “A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
“Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.”
Ireland coach Andy Farrell is sweating on the availability of second row Tadhg Beirne who picked up a foot injury in the win over France and left the stadium wearing a protectice boot.
Related: Rugby Fixtures
Johnny Sexton was also replaced after suffering a groin injury, the skipper revealed he sustained the blow when Atonio fell on him, and his condition will be monitored during the fallow week.
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