London - England hooker Dylan Hartley has been cited over biting allegations during last weekend's Six Nations win over Ireland at Twickenham and could be banned for more than 24 weeks if found guilty.
Italian citing commissioner Alberto Recaldini cited the 25-year-old New Zealand-born Hartley on Monday under International Rugby Board Law 10.4(m), "Acts contrary to good sportsmanship," for allegedly biting the finger of an opponent in the 23rd minute of the first half on Saturday.
The hearing for the 39-times capped Hartley will be held by an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee on a date to be fixed.
Biting is an offence which carries an entry point punishment of 12 weeks at the low end, 18 weeks at mid-range and 24+ weeks at the top end in the International Rugby Board (IRB) sanctions table.
Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris was heard accusing an England player of biting during the match.
Biting is a red card offence but as neither referee Nigel Owens nor his touch judges saw the alleged incident, no action was taken during the game.
Owens, in a conversation recorded on his microphone, told England captain Chris Robshaw and Ireland skipper Rory Best in the 28th minute of Saturday's match: "I have an accusation of biting, a clear mark on the finger.
"I did not see something. If I do it will be dealt with severely, which would be a red card. It could be dealt with afterwards. If it is seen it will be dealt (with) I did not see it."
Owens added: "Have a word. Nothing like that takes place in this game. I can only deal with what I see. Have a word, please."
As the packs then set-up for a scrum, Owens added: "This game is difficult enough without stuff like that, is that clear?"
Owens then approached Ferris, while the back-row forward was receiving treatment from Ireland's physiotherapist, and said: "I have done all I can. It has been noted. If I don't see it I can't do nothing about it.
"It has been spoken about and dealt with."
England's victory saw them finish second in the tournament, with Ireland in third place.