WATCH - Eddie Jones' priceless reaction to Dylan Hartley's red and Brian O'Driscoll sums up what he all feel
England face an anxious wait to discover captain Dylan Hartley will miss the start of the Six Nations Championship after he was sent off just six minutes after he returned to club duty.
Hartley arrived to a rousing reception when he came on as a 52nd-minute replacement but he departed to stunned silence after referee Jerome Garces showed him a red card for a swinging arm tackle that flattened Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien.
Hartley’s dismissal came in front of England coaches past and present in Stuart Lancaster and Eddie Jones. Lancaster, now Leinster’s assistant coach, left Hartley out of his squad for that tournament after he was banned for head-butting Saracens hooker Jamie George.
Jones ignored Hartley’s poor disciplinary record when appointed the hooker England captain in January but his history may count against him when this case is heard.
The reaction of Jones to the dangerous tackle, which was captured on BT Sport, and Brian O'Driscoll's reaction on Twitter tell you everything you need yo know.
O'Driscoll wrote: "Mindless from Hartley. Lions Captain???!"
Very solid performance from @leinsterrugby tonight with room for improvement. Mindless from Hartley. Lions Captain???!— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) December 9, 2016
Warren Gatland may be seeking a new skipper. Asked who he would choose to lead the Lions, O'Driscoll went for Welsh lock Alun Wyn Jones.
Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio is highly critical of Hartley, accusing him of "checking out" on Northampton and "looking after himself".
"Without doubt it's a red card, there's no question about it. Sean O'Brien went back into the changing room and hasn't been able to come out for the rest of the game," Dallaglio told BT Sport.
"It was an unnecessary challenge, it was a swinging arm. It is reckless and got what it deserved.
"When you're on the bench you're frustrated and want to make an impression, but that's not the way to do it. It's really landed his side in a lot of trouble.
"Jim Mallinder has stuck by Dylan time and time again and you can see what Eddie Jones thinks about it.
"I think it's now time for Dylan to go away and have a little think about what's important for him.
"Dylan has kind of checked out of playing for Northampton this season. He played for them once, at the start at the season.
"He's been brilliant for England, according to Eddie Jones. He's been a good leader among that group, but he's just checked out of playing for his club and I don't think you can do that.
"I've been captain of England so I know what the pressures are like. It's tough, but when you come back you need to give the guys a lift.
"You need to get the banter back, get the spirits back and translate your confidence back to your club, but every time that's been asked of him, he's not done it, he's just looked after himself.
"He does need to go away and have a little look at his game and himself and come back as a Northampton Saints player."