- Scrum half primed to return from international wilderness
- I have come through a lot but now I think I am a better person and a better player for it – Care
Danny Care has not had the easiest 12 months but, after playing a lead role in the capture of the Aviva Premiership title last weekend, the Harlequins scrum half wants to re-launch his international career in South Africa.
Banishing memories of a difficult beginning to the year, Care was back to his very best on Saturday as his club side claimed a 30-23 win over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham – an accomplishment that is clearly a huge source of pride.
"I’ve been at Quins for six years now so to win the Premiership after all that hard work – when nobody thought we could – was brilliant," explained the 25 year-old. "We are all best mates. I think it was clear by the celebrations after the game just how much it meant to everyone.
"Hopefully I showed a bit of maturity on the pitch. I have come through a lot but now I think I am a better person and a better player for it. There was definitely a sense of redemption there."
Missing the 2011 Rugby World Cup through injury before being excluded from Stuart Lancaster’s RBS 6 Nations set-up on disciplinary grounds, Care has endured a prolonged period away from international rugby. Indeed, his last Test cap came last August in the defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
However, speaking just prior to leaving for South Africa with the rest of the squad, Care revealed how he has fought his way back into consideration with some essential lifestyle changes.
Photo: Getty Images
"My focus needed to get back onto rugby," he said. "I let that slip quite a bit and missing the Six Nations was very hard to take. Obviously there was the World Cup disappointment before that too. It all built up.
“I have been really happy with my form towards the end of the season though, and am delighted to have been given this chance to get back into the Test team. A lot of us haven’t even been to South Africa before but we know that playing the Springboks in their own backyard is going to be special."
"There are two very good scrum halfs that I am going up against – [Ben] Youngsy and Lee [Dickson] both did very well in the Six Nations. I do back myself and have a lot of self-belief but it would be great if I could just add something to the squad."
Finally, Care paid tribute to England Head Coach Lancaster, who has been a prominent part of his development since the age of 15.
"He was one of the reasons I got through High School," Care added. "I wasn’t really naughty but definitely didn’t concentrate on my schoolwork too much when I knew I was going to be a rugby player.
"He made me knuckle down with that but also made sure I would get outside for skills sessions as well. I owe him a lot and hopefully, now that he is England coach, I can replay him."