Alan Quinlan's Lion tour is in major doubt after he was cited for alleged contact with Leo Cullen's eye during Leinster's 25-6 Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Munster at Croke Park last Saturday.
Television pictures showed Quinlan's hand making contact with the Leinster captain's right eye and if the Munster flanker is found guilty, he faces a ban of several months which would rule him out of this summer's Lions tour to South Africa.
The citing was lodged by independent commissioner John Byett from England and Quinlan is due to appear before an Independent Disciplinary Committee which will be convened &£8220;as soon as is practicable&£8221; according to the ERC.
Although both Munster and Leinster camps spoke out in defence of Quinlan's character after the match, eye-gouging is considered one of the inexcusable acts in rugby and Neil Best and Dylan Hartley were recently suspended for 18 and 26 weeks respectively after being found guilty of the same offence.
Quinlan's surprise inclusion on Ian McGeechan's 37-man Lions squad was a tremendous boost to a player whose international career has been frequently stalled by injury, suspension or omission. Now, the 34-year-old is in danger of missing out on a career-defining experience.