Timani charged with striking, faces ban

Cardiff: The Wallabies are facing the loss of powerful lock Sitaleki Timani after he was cited for allegedly striking an opponent in the test against Italy last weekend.

Timani appeared to smack prop Andrea Lo Cicero Vaina in the mouth with his forearm during a scuffle involving Lo Cicero, Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe in the 13th minute of the test.

Footage also shows a high tackle on Sharpe that appears to have sparked the confrontation, as well as Timani's subsequent blow catching Ghiraldini in the face.

Lo Cicero, a stout front-rower, is shown wrenching two-metre-tall Sharpe backwards, with his arm around the Australian's neck.

During the ensuing scuffle, Sharpe appears to plant his palm over Lo Cicero's face before Timani plants the alleged strike on the hooker's jaw.

The charge will be heard in Bristol, England, at 9am on Wednesday (about 8pm AEDT).

A suspension would be a blow to the Wallabies' scrum, which has benefited from Timani's strength and power during the past two test matches.

Versatile forward Dave Dennis could be called on to replace his Waratahs team mate in the second row against Wales this weekend, although Kane Douglas rejoined the squad from London on Sunday night and could be passed fit to play.

Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville is also available.

Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham, who recently served a two-game ban for striking All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, said Timani's citation was a shame.

"You can't really do much these days and get away with it. There's quite a few blokes going to the judiciary this week but I suppose it's that time of year – it's towards the end of the year and I suppose you're getting a bit frustrated," Higginbotham said.

"But the physicality will still be there, [No.8 Wycliff Palu] has brought that back with him ... The backs are looking very tough, Adam Ashley-Cooper is doing well at the breakdown and a lot of the boys are following in there."

Welsh second rower Luke Charteris said the Wallabies had the depth to cover Timani's potential absence.

"He's a good player for them, he's been playing well, but for a country with a relatively small population they always seem to have pretty good strength and depth," Charteris said. "I'm sure whoever comes in will step up to the mark."

This story Timani charged with striking, faces ban first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.