Montpellier's South Africa flyhalf star Francois Steyn has lost an appeal against the four-week ban imposed for a dangerous tackle on Leinster counterpart Jonny Sexton in the European Champions Cup last month.

The 29-year-old – capped 53 times and one of the Springboks' stars of their 2007 World Cup triumph – was red-carded just before the half-hour mark of his team's colossal 57-3 defeat in Dublin which ended their hopes of making the quarterfinals.

Steyn lodged an appeal on Tuesday but this was rejected on Wednesday by a three-man committee chaired by Scotland's Rod McKenzie.

"An independent Appeal Committee has decided to refuse an appeal by the Montpellier player, Francois Steyn, against the four-week suspension imposed on him by an independent Disciplinary Committee following his sending off during his club's European Rugby Champions Cup, Round 5 match against Leinster Rugby," a statement issued by tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby said Wednesday.

Steyn has so far been suspended for Montpellier's final Champions Cup pool match against Northampton and for the domestic French Top 14 match against Castres.

He will remain suspended for the Top 14 matches against Toulouse and Lyon, and will be free to play again on March 6.