- Scrum half geared towards "once-in-a-lifetime" win in South Africa
- We are searching for a full 80-minute performance – Care
A delighted Danny Care has labelled his England recall “a dream come true” after being handed a start at scrum half for the final Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.
Care, 25, last began an Test last August against Wales and, after a year blighted by much-publicised disciplinary issues, is both relieved and extremely eager to take the field.
“I can’t wait for Saturday to come round,” he said. “It’s been a long wait and a long year but the last few months have been brilliant. Winning the [Aviva Premiership] with Harlequins was a major achievement and then to be back in the nine shirt for England is a dream come true.
“Stuart [Lancaster] has just told me to get out there and do what I have been doing for Quins. That is great for me – my natural game is to have a go so I will do that when it is on, but I also want to manage the team well.”
Care starts behind a pack featuring James Haskell and Thomas Waldrom as the tourists are forced to re-shuffle their back row, and went on to outline the importance of asserting possession and territory by using the “big boys” as first-up ball carriers in the early stages.
From that platform, he seemed confident that England could secure a morale-boosting victory over the Springboks finish the trip on a high.
Photo: Getty Images
“We feel we can hurt them with a bit of tempo and our carriers will definitely want the ball in their hands at the start,” he explained.
“We are searching for a full 80-minute performance, so it’s also important that we relieve pressure when we can and not let them play in our 22 where they are at their most effective.
“[South Africa] are a ruthless team. You can see that in their performances when they turn it on and put us under a lot of pressure.
“We’ve lost the series but there is still a lot to play for – winning over here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we want to build some momentum for the rest of the year.”
Having watched the first two matches from the stands, Care has clearly studied the Springboks astutely and finished by discussing the talents of his opposite number, Francois Hougaard:
“Francois is a fantastic player and has probably been their stand-out over the first two games. He’s a massive threat that we are going to have to hold on to – a great runner, a great kicker and a great organiser. He ticks all three boxes.
“I’m looking forward to matching up against him and hopefully it goes well."