LOCK Ian Evans will miss Wales’ defence of the Six Nations title after being banned for 12 weeks for stamping.

The 29-year-old was red-carded in the first half of Ospreys’ Heineken Cup defeat to Leinster in Dublin last weekend.

Evans’ boot made contact with the head of opposite number Mike McCarthy, who was on the floor while the visitors were trundling forward with a maul.

Referee Romain Poite sent the Ospreys man off after watching footage of the incident on the big screen and his judgement has been backed both by disciplinary chiefs and Evans, who pleaded guilty.

The offence was deemed to be at the top end of the International Rugby Board scale for such offences but the suspension was reduced by four weeks by the lock pleading guilty.

That rules him out of action until April 21, leaving the Toulon-bound forward able to play in the final two regular season games for his region.

Evans was one of the unsung heroes of Wales’ success last year, starting in all five games.

His absence leaves Warren Gatland to pick from Luke Charteris and Andrew Coombs as second-row partner for Alun Wyn Jones and could lead to Scarlets lock Jake Ball, who has been training with the squad, getting a full call-up.