Veteran backrow forward James Haskell could be facing an uphill battle to make the matchday 22 for titleholders England’s opening Six Nations match with France after he returned home instead of joining up with the squad in Portugal.

The 31-year-old — capped 70 times and a key member of England’s Six Nations Grand Slam winning side last year and their historic 3-0 series whitewash of Australia Down Under — admitted he was still feeling some pain in the foot which had seen him miss several months of the campaign already.

Haskell only returned to action at the beginning of January but that lasted a matter of seconds before he went off with concussion.

Last Sunday’s European Champions Cup match with Zebre saw him taken off in the second-half.

“I tried to do the basics well against Zebre. I’ve obviously got a bit of discomfort in the foot, but you are always going to have that,” Haskell told BBC Sport on Monday.

England, who are on a 14 Test winning streak, 13 of those under Australian Eddie Jones since he took over after the 2015 World Cup debacle, host France at Twickenham on February 4. – Agence France-Presse

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