Ireland lock Paul O'Connell has been suspended for two weeks after being found guilty of punching Wales opposite number Robert Sidoli in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.
The verdict leaves O'Connell free to play in Munster's European Cup quarter-final against Biarritz on April 3.
O'Connell had insisted: ''While the incident may have looked a little ugly, there was no malice or wilful intent involved on my part. Robert Sidoli and the referee accepted this in good spirits and once we shook hands, we both got on with it."
Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan also stood up for O'Connell and issued a statement on Monday which said: ''I have spoken with Paul and I accept the interpretation that it was more of a frustrating and harmless scrap with no intent to hurt or injure on his part.
''Knowing Paul and his reputation, I accept that explanation for something that we all know would be out of character."
But the three-man independent disciplinary committee - which was chaired by Lorne Crerar (Scotland) and included Jeff Probyn and Bob Taylor (both England) - heard the citation and found O'Connell guilty of punching.
After Ireland's heroic big-game hunt of the Springboks and Scotland's six-try runaround of the Pumas, the challenge of engineering the most spectacular win of the autumn series now falls on Wales, writes Peter Jackson.