Italy's chances of progressing to the quarter-finals in the ongoing Rugby World Cup has taken a major blow with props Nicola Quaglio and Andrea Lovotti suspended for three games following their dangerous tackle in the recently concluded World Cup game against South Africa in Shizuoka.
The duo were involved in a spear tackle on Springboks number eight Duane Vermeulen in the 43rd minute of the game that saw Rassie Erasmus' men complete a 3-49 win.
While referee Wayne Barnes issued a red card to Lovotti following the incident for a breach of Law 9.18 that deals with lifting tackle, replacement prop Quaglio was let off but was later cited by citing commissioner John Montgomery following the game.
Both the players attended the hearing in Tokyo in front of an independent disciplinary committee chaired by Sir James Dingemans (England) with former international player Olly Kohn (Wales) and former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland).
As Lovotti admitted to the charges, Quaglio denied that his actions met the threshold of a red-card. However, the panel took all considerations and upheld the decision of the citing commissioner resulting in a three-game ban for both the players.
Italy have an uphill task of needing to beat New Zealand in the final game of the round and hope for the result between South Africa and Canada to go their way if they are to reach the quarter-finals in the tournament.