Wasps will keep teenager Charlie Atkinson off the pitch for at least ‘a couple of weeks’ after being knocked out by Owen Farrell’s dangerous tackle for Saracens.
The England captain was red carded for the 61st minute incident which will see him go before a disciplinary hearing this (Tuesday) evening.
18-year-old Atkinson, who had been on the field just eight minutes as a second-half substitute, was replaced as Wasps secured a 28-18 victory in his absence.
Lee Blackett, the Wasps head coach, confirmed the young fly-half is going through the head injury protocols but extra time will be given due to his age.
“He won’t be doing anything for a couple of weeks,” Blackett said. “We look after these younger guys especially with a pretty tough head knock. I’ve had a couple of text messages in the last couple of days. He’s not been in so we’ve left him at home. The couple of text messages I’ve had with him, everything seems alright.”
Blackett did confirm it was Wasps’ decision to allow Atkinson a longer recovery time rather than it being the severity of his injuries – which will be a key factor taken into consideration during Farrell’s disciplinary hearing.
“Normally with players they’d have to go through a six-day process and gradually build back, showing no symptoms and their training volume would get more each day,” he said. “Whereas with Charlie, cause he’s only 18 it’s completely different.
“He must go through a longer process. I think it’s the right thing to do for these kids, the younger guys so yeah, Charlie’s is just because of his age more than anything else.”
Atksinon made his Premiership debut last month against Sale Sharks arriving as a 73rd minute replacement for Jacob Umaga at the Ricoh Arena. He has played a full part on Wasps’ preparations ahead of the resumption of the Gallagher Premiership season, with Blackett referencing he is being selected on merit, rather than just to blood a young player with potential.
“He’s gutted the way it finished,” he said. “He’s a guy that was just excited he’s obviously played his second Premiership game, you’ve got to think a couple of months ago he was at school so to go from where he’s gone and then be thrown into the Premiership level, he speaks all the time about being amazed at how quickly this has all happened for him.
“There’s no one that’s worked harder in our training environment. He’s not there cause he’s got potential, he’s there because he’s worked hard and he’s actually deserved his opportunity. So I think he was just pretty gutted, but look it’s one of them, and then he’ll definitely come back stronger and he can’t wait to get back in training.”