James Haskell gives Eddie Jones a headache in 35 seconds
After a comeback that lasted less than a minute, the Wasp flanker could miss England's Six Nations opener
England rugby star James Haskell returned from a seven-month injury lay-off on Sunday but his comeback lasted only 35 seconds before he was taken off with a head injury.
The Wasps flanker came off the bench in the game against Leicester Tigers, but "his only impact on the game was a trademark big-hit tackle from which he appeared to lose consciousness", says Owen Slot of The Times.
Haskell was left motionless on the turf after catching his head on his opponent's hip. He was immediately taken off.
"The potentially grim tidings were offset by the fact that Haskell, who looked out cold, did manage to get back to his feet within a few minutes and was reported to be fine in the changing-rooms afterwards, even if somewhat embarrassed by his abrupt departure from the action following such a lengthy lay-off," says Mick Cleary of the Daily Telegraph.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said the player was "totally fine" and was "embarrassed" that his comeback was so short.
The incident leaves England coach Eddie Jones with a problem. Haskell must now wait six days before returning to action, which means he could be sidelined from Wasps' game against Toulouse next week. If he misses that match he will only have one game to prove his fitness ahead of the Six Nations, with England already missing several key forwards, says Cleary of the Telegraph.
"Jones is due to find out in the next 48 hours if Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw is to be rendered unavailable with a shoulder problem. Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola has already been ruled out of at least the opening rounds of the tournament with a knee injury. There are also injury concerns to resolve over Harlequins prop Joe Marler, who was a late withdrawal from Saturday's game against Sale Sharks because of an ongoing calf problem."
In the backs, Manu Tuilagi has already been ruled out of the tournament.
Those at the Ricoh Arena were less concerned about the Six Nations than the outcome of a thrilling game that ended 22-16 to Wasps, who are three points clear at the top of the Premiership.
"In many ways this was a glimpse into the promised land of club rugby," says Robert Kitson of The Guardian. "A huge, enthralled crowd, a wonderful rollercoaster of a ball game, entertainment for all stylistic tastes and not a contentious high tackle in sight. It is hard to recall a more compelling Premiership advert for winter bladder-chasing even if Leicester, after an unsettling week, will not necessarily share that view on Monday."