Danny Care was presented with his national academy report in anticipation of his 100th cap and the England scrum-half jokes that the assessment made two decades ago is still accurate now.

Care will become the sixth England men’s Test centurion if he steps off the bench in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match against Ireland with his extended family, including his wife Jodie and three children, all present at Twickenham.

When the squad gathered on Thursday to celebrate the occasion, they were read out the 37-year-old’s hand-written Under-18 report that had been obtained by attack coach Richard Wigglesworth.

“Wiggy got handed it at our training camp in York last week and was asked to give it to me. He said ‘there’s no way I’m giving it to him yet. I’m going to have some fun first’,” Care said.

“He did a little bit of a montage of good and bad bits from my career. The report said ‘he lacks a bit of physicality, box-kicking is slightly inconsistent’. I’d say 18 years later it’s still the same!

“The cool line at the end of it was ‘future England player’. There was also ‘he tries a bit too much and makes a few mistakes, but he’ll have a crack’.

“Wigglesworth had a bit of fun with that and it’s come a full circle. I’m still quite similar, I’d say.”

Care’s passage to the milestone has been far from plain sailing after being dropped by Eddie Jones in 2018, resulting in four years spent in the international wilderness until his dazzling form for Harlequins forced a recall.

Back in the saddle for the 2022 tour to Australia, he was then hauled off before half-time of the Sydney decider and once again he appeared to have been frozen out.


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But upon Steve Borthwick’s appointment as Jones’ successor in time for the 2023 Six Nations, the Test odyssey of England’s most attacking scrum-half was given a new lease of life.


“As a parent you want to inspire your kids and if they can maybe have a look at my career and go ‘dad didn’t give up, he kept trying’, then maybe there’s a message out there for them to believe in yourself and keep going,” he said.

“Because it would have been quite easy for me to sack it off and not want to do it any more.

“But I’ve always had that drive to wear the shirt again. It might be my last opportunity to wear it at Twickenham, the stadium where I’ve played at a lot of times, so I’m desperate to get out there on the weekend and have some fun.

“I’ve just tried to embrace these moments because it’s not going to last forever. That’s what I’ve been telling the young lads in the team – embrace it and enjoy it.”

“Now I’m still here blagging it! I still think a lot of people can’t believe I’m here – I’m the same.”

It is fitting that Care will reach the century as a replacement having made the role of giving England zip and energy late in games his own. With 56 substitute appearances already made, no Test player has appeared more off the bench.

“Everyone always asks me if I get annoyed being on the bench and I genuinely don’t. It’s not that I prefer it, but I love it,” he said.

“I love that role because you’re on the pitch at the end. You have the ability to help your team win the game and you’re on the pitch for the final whistle. When you’re a starter as a nine, you very rarely play the 80 minutes these days.”

Danny Care has revealed the unconventional secret behind his career longevity as he closes in on becoming England’s sixth Test centurion – cookies and saunas.

Care will make his 99th international appearance in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland and even at 37-years-old the high-tempo Harlequins scrum-half is in the form of his life.

On top of showing the persistence needed to emerge from a three-and-a-half-year spell in England exile, he has taken his own approach to making sure he can perform at the highest level.


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And unlike former Red Rose team-mate Jonny May, who is famed for his dedication to training and preparation, Care takes a more unorthodox route.


“I’m definitely not like Jonny May! I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum to Jonny May. More cookies. Cookies and saunas. And why not if it works? Everyone is so different,” Care said.

“I’ve always been quite lucky in that I’ve not been massively into nutrition or believe fully in it, which the nutritionists hate me for!

“I don’t think I’ve cracked it, but I’m 37 and I like to think I’ve shown an alternative way of doing it. Rather than all the protein and the supplements every day…

“I’ve definitely put a bigger emphasis on my recovery in the last few years but I feel better now than I did four or five years ago.

“The team hotel is also an amazing five-star spa, which helps. The sauna and the ice bath are our best friends.

“It’s amazing when you’ve got that on your doorstep and have the time to do it. When I’m at home I can’t just nip out for a couple of hours to ‘recover’, my wife would… well, she wouldn’t be my wife any more!

“But when you’re here and you’ve got the best S&C guys, nutritionists, everyone and it’s all for you. You can be selfish in that way and that helps me a lot.”

Care refuses to put a timeframe on his retirement but knows this will almost certainly be his final visit to Murrayfield and is hoping to have clarity on his club future after the Six Nations.

He was among those dropped by Eddie Jones after the ‘black hole game’ against Japan in 2018, so called because the dismal performance spelt the end of several Test careers.

But having compelled Jones to reconsider on the basis of his swashbuckling form for Harlequins, he continues to be an important part of the England set-up under Steve Borthwick.

“I feel more liberated, I feel more free, I feel like I can just enjoy it. You never know which one is going to be the last one so in a way that gives me freedom to just be myself and really enjoy it,” Care said.

“That’s something that is hard to do when you play for England because you’re constantly on the edge of being judged and want to do well and stay in.

“There are also so many other lads who people think should be playing instead of you, but I don’t care about any of that any more, which is nice.”

Danny Care hopes a heartbreaking defeat by South Africa in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final has won over any England fans who had grown disillusioned with the team.

England went out on their shields after the Springboks needed a last-gasp penalty from Handre Pollard to snatch victory having trailed for 75 minute of a thunderous showdown at the Stade de France.

As Owen Farrell orchestrated a wet weather masterclass that rattled the world champions, the discontent generated by poor recent Six Nations campaigns, the Eddie Jones era limping on for too long and August’s alarming collapse in form faded away.

And although the distant outsiders were unable to complete their unlikely mission of securing a place in next Saturday’s final against New Zealand, head coach Steve Borthwick should begin rebuilding his side amid a groundswell of support.

Booing is a sound heard frequently at England games in recent times, particularly at Twickenham, but Care views the progress made in France under Borthwick’s guidance as a cause to rally around.

“There was a lot of stuff said about us before and hopefully we’ve changed some perceptions, maybe got people believing in us again,” the Harlequins scrum-half said.

“Before the tournament, we understand that because of our performances people were doubting us a little bit. But then things clicked into gear a bit when we got over to France.

“We’ve shown stuff that fans can hopefully get behind and be proud of. The support we’ve had over here and back home has been amazing. This team will go on to bigger and better things, I’m sure of it.”

England led by nine points until RG Snyman went over in the 70th minute, but the tide had already begun turning as South Africa’s ‘Bomb Squad’ forced four scrum penalties.

“It was tough in that changing room. Unfortunately great effort doesn’t get you over the line sometimes,” said the 36-year-old Care, who revealed he will remain available for Test selection after the World Cup.

“I was sat in the bath with Maro Itoje and we were saying how sport can be cruel. It’s why we love it so much, it’s on a knife edge so often. There’s one happy changing room, one sad one.

“For me personally, when time is running out on your international career it’s tough to take, but I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team.”

England have one final assignment before departing France in the shape of Friday’s bronze final, customarily an unloved fixture in the World Cup schedule. But Care insists third place is a prize worth winning.

“We’d love to have been in the big dance but we’re not. The next best thing you can do is to finish third and try to make more people back home proud of this England team,” Care said.

“We’ll dust ourselves off pretty quick. Losing to South Africa is going to be harsh and tough to take for a couple of days but that’s sport – you’ve got to bounce back.”

Danny Care is ready for the biggest game of his life when England face South Africa in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

A repeat of the 2019 final will see England arrive at Stade de France on Saturday as the tournament’s solitary remaining unbeaten team.

Four successive pool-stage victories and a quarter-final triumph against Fiji have combined to confound the critics who predicted an underwhelming tournament for Steve Borthwick’s team.

And while reigning world champions South Africa are firm favourites, resilient England remain in the fight.


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“We have got two more weeks and a massive game to fly into, which will be the biggest game of my life. I can’t wait,” England scrum-half Care said.

“I think the character of this team was questioned before the World Cup and whether we had anything in us to come out here and do anything.

“Hopefully, we have quietly gone about our business and ticked off a few wins. Four from four in the pools, a fifth in the quarter-final against a team who everybody was saying was going to surprise us and beat us.

“It clicked when we got over here, training went up a notch, perhaps because of the severity of where we were and the realisation that we were at a World Cup – the last one for a few of us, the first for others.

“That mixture came together and we gave it our all. We feel like we deserve to be here. We are going to give it our all next weekend and try and make everyone at home proud.

“We have got a lot of lads who played in the World Cup final four years ago, a lot of lads who have won big trophies, won big games. We will use all of that next week to hopefully get another big win.

“We are delighted to be in the semi-final of this World Cup – one step closer to the dream.”

At 36, Care might be in the twilight phase of a Test career that began 15 years ago, but he has showcased every bit of experience gained from winning 94 England caps.

He followed up scoring the winning try in England’s tense victory over Samoa by being at the forefront of the impressive finale in Marseille that repelled a thrilling Fiji fightback and closed out a 30-24 win.

Owen Farrell’s drop goal and penalty confirmed a semi-final ticket, and Care said of the England captain: “Owen was brilliant, as George (Ford) has been brilliant for four games.

“I have played with Owen for 10-12 years now. His levels never dip, both on the field and off the pitch. He is an unbelievable person, an unbelievable player.

“I still think he won’t get the recognition he properly deserves until he stops playing, which I still find incredible. He is showing again and again what a wonderful world-class player he is. He is a top bloke.”

Ben Earl insists England have noted their absence from composite Rugby World Cup teams as they look to prove their critics wrong in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final against Fiji.

England completed their group campaign with a full set of four victories yet few are expecting them to challenge for South Africa’s global crown despite being placed in the easier side of the draw.

Earl has been Steve Borthwick’s star performer in France and would be pushing hard for inclusion in teams comprising the World Cup’s best players, but the general snub has not been overlooked by the squad.

“You see a lot of stuff on social media about world XVs and stuff and there’s probably not a huge amount of representation from England in that regard,” the Saracens back row said.

“A lot of people don’t think there’s that many of us in there. You always want to be in those conversations. In terms of voicing concerns about it? Not really. We know a lot of our team have been in those positions before.

“It’s just an opinion, but at the same time we know the quality we’ve got. We know that on any given day, when some of the players we have got on our team turn up we become a very, very hard team to beat.

“These are the stages that we want to be involved in. You find out a lot about your team-mates, find out a lot about yourself. We’ll be expecting big performances.

“We’ve been speaking a lot all week about it being time for our big game players to start turning up. We’ve all got a responsibility to do that.

“It’s kind of now or never. No one wants to be flying back to London on Monday morning, so we’re going to out there and perform our best and see what happens.”

Danny Care is among a number of senior players who could be making their final appearances for England and the veteran scrum-half admits there is no margin for error against Fiji, who stormed Twickenham 30-22 in August.

“It’s what you dream about, being involved in games like this. It’s the chance of a lifetime,” Care said.

“We’re fully focused on Fiji and we have to be because we know how dangerous Fiji are. If we’re slightly off it, then we will be going home. That’s the stark reality of it.

“We know the significance of this game and how much it means to us, how much it means to the people back home. We’re dying to get out there.

“For someone like me, you know this could be the last time I put on an England shirt so I’m going to give it my all.

“Any time I play for England, it means everything. But when you know you’re kind of coming to the end of your journey in that shirt you want to do yourself proud and your family proud.

“I want to make it worthwhile that I’ve been away for five months and you don’t do that by coming home after the quarter-final. We’re really excited to get out there and show what we can do.”

Danny Care saved England from disaster against Samoa on Saturday after realising he had to back up his Alan Shearer-style try-scoring celebration.

Care stepped off the bench at Stade Pierre-Mauroy to race over for the 74th minute touchdown that was converted by Owen Farrell, snatching an 18-17 victory which was kind to Steve Borthwick’s side.

Upon racing over from a five metre-scrum, the veteran Harlequins scrum-half raised his left arm aloft and looked up to the stands, mimicking England and Newcastle football great Shearer.

Care then made a crucial intervention seconds from full-time when he made a try-saving tackle on wing Neria Fomai as Samoa staged a last-ditch assault on the line that fell metres short.

“It has been on my mind that I haven’t scored many tries for England, especially recently being out of the fold for a few years you never think you’re going to get another opportunity like that,” Care said.

“I decided that if I did do it, I’ll enjoy it and if you do decide to do an Alan Shearer celebration across the stadium you better make that tackle after!

“I don’t really remember the tackle – it was a blur – but I remember thinking you can’t celebrate like Alan Shearer and not make that tackle!

“The boys put their body on the line for 80 minutes so the least you can do when you’ve been on the bench is run back and try and tackle.

“Hopefully that shows a bit about what we’re about as a team. Even though it wasn’t a brilliant performance, we work hard for each other.”

Once again England found a way to win when the game was slipping away – no mean feat for a side that in recent times was prone to imploding when the pressure came on.

And although it propelled them into the quarter-finals as Pool D winners, it was a deflating performance coming in the wake of feelgood victories against Argentina, Japan and Chile.

Borthwick claimed the full-blooded encounter against an inspired Samoa was the ideal build-up to the knockout phase and Care agrees.

“If we had won that game by 20-30 points and scored a load of tries, would that be great prep for next week? I don’t think so,” Care said.

“In a way, now we’ve probably had the perfect game to prep for next week. It was scrappy, Samoa threw everything into every breakdown, we gave away too many penalties, we lost the ball too many times and we know why already.

“We know what not to do. I hope the fans believe in us that we will be better. We have to be or we’ll find ourselves on a plane home.

“A lot of hard work starts this week but we’re four from four, in a quarter final and we can get out there and get to the next stage.”

George Ford had Jannie de Beer and England team-mate Danny Care in his sights as he masterminded a stunning 27-10 victory over Argentina in their World Cup clash at the Stade Velodrome.

Steve Borthwick’s men entered the Pool D opener as underdogs for the first time in the history of the fixture yet emerged conclusive winners despite seeing Tom Curry sent off in the third minute for a dangerous tackle.

Confronted by crisis yet again – Curry was their fourth red card in six Tests – they responded defiantly by matching spirited defence with smart, on-the-hoof game management.

Ford took command of an ugly spectacle by kicking the shambolic Pumas into oblivion, landing six penalties and three drop goals while intelligently steering his team around the field.

It was the drop goals – all landed in the second quarter – that infused England with belief and in the process evoked memories of when South Africa’s De Beer slotted a record five to boot them out of the 1999 World Cup.

But Ford joked that an internal rivalry also drove him on in a win that offers clear sight of the knockout phase.

“Jannie de Beer is the guy who got five in a game? I thought I was on track at one point. Five is incredible!” the Sale fly-half said.

“I’ve not kicked three in a game before. We were actually laughing in the changing room afterwards because Danny Care out of the squad was the guy with the most drop-goals for England (three).

“So I thought that’s not right, I need to put an end to that! Maybe that was the meaning behind this win!

“The crucial one was the third one that took us more than seven points ahead. That’s the life of a kicker sometimes. Some days you can’t hit a barn door, some days you can’t miss.

“In a game like this where it was dead greasy, it wasn’t going to be easy to hold the ball, move the ball and score tries. To get more than seven ahead was critical for us.”

Along with his fellow fly-halves Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith, Ford has been drilling drop-goals in training in the knowledge they could prove decisive in tight games at the World Cup.

“Marcus, Owen and myself, after every session we are doing drop goals. It’s part of what we do, it is part of our plan,” Ford said.

“We get the nines to pass us the ball and we get some guys to come over and put pressure on us. So we try and make it as realistic as possible.

“The thing with drop goals is when the opposition least expect it. It is to try and disguise it a little bit then you give yourself a little more time and space and hopefully try and kick it.”

“It’s such a crucial and critical weapon at times, especially when you see how influential they have been at World Cups.

“It’s something we have spoken about a tiny bit more, but the whole plan wasn’t about drop goals, it was just about imposing pressure and trying to come away with points in any way we can.”

Danny Care has unfinished business with the World Cup but refuses to hold back during England’s warm-up games even if it means repeating one of his career’s most crushing disappointments.

Care was considered first choice scrum-half heading into the 2011 tournament only to sustain a serious foot injury against Wales in Cardiff during the build-up, preventing him from playing any part.

The Harlequins half-back had already paid for his parents to travel to New Zealand in anticipation of his involvement and while they watched England reach the quarter-finals, he remained at home on crutches.

Four years later, he had slipped down the pecking order and was confined to a single match against Uruguay, and when 2019 arrived he was among the victims of Eddie Jones’ leftfield approach to scrum-half selection.


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France this autumn offers a final chance for the 36-year-old to realise his World Cup dream, but first England must revisit the setting for his misfortune of 2011 when they face Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

“I’m desperate to try and play more World Cup games, try and win some more games for England,” Care said.

“It will be a dream come true to get on that plane and hopefully I’ve done enough to get on the plane.

“I got named in the squad in 2011, played a warm-up game and ended up missing the tournament. Touch wood that doesn’t happen again, but it is rugby, it happens.

“One thing you can’t do going onto a rugby field is think about staying fit and no one will be doing that.

“It is the nature of the beast – you’re not playing tiddlywinks. It’s a tough old sport and you can get injured at any point, in any training session.

“It’s the way it is, there is a bit of luck involved sometimes. You try and not think about it, just crack on and put your head 100 per cent into everything and then hope for the best.

“Everyone will be flying in to win Test matches. We are going to try to win games and the best way to be prepared for France is to go and win some Test matches.”

Danny Care has been left out of England's training squad ahead of the Autumn Nations Series but Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds return.

Scrum-half Care featured in the Red Rose's series victory over Australia in July, but is not among the 36 players who will report for a three-day camp this weekend.

Centre Tuilagi and number eight Simmonds are back in the fold after recovering from injuries, while pivot Ben Youngs has been selected ahead of the November encounters with Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.

Simmonds gets the nod amid reports that he could leave Exeter Chiefs to join Montpellier, a move that would make him ineligible to play for his country.

Locks Alex Coles and Hugh Tizard have been called up for the first time, while Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans are also included.

Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje are among the absentees due to injury.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress. We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.

"It doesn't mean that those who have been left out won't be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We'll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.

"We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we'll build on what we've done there and continue that momentum."


England training squad:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Pearson, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Sam Simmonds, Will Stuart, Hugh Tizard, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Joe Cokanasiga, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, Jack Nowelll, Guy Porter, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs.

Billy Vunipola and Danny Care have returned to the England fold as head coach Eddie Jones announced the squad for the upcoming tour to Australia.

Vunipola has not featured for England since last year's Six Nations, but comes into the squad after injuries to Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds.

The 29-year-old suffered a head injury in Saracens' Premiership final loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday but is fit to join up with an England side that were hammered 52-21 by the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

Care also features, having not earned a cap since 2018, as England's most-capped international and fellow scrum-half Ben Youngs stays at home due to family reasons.

Jones has included eight uncapped players in the 36-man squad.

Fraser Dingwall, Tommy Freeman, Guy Porter, Patrick Schickerling, Jack van Poortvliet, Jack Walker, Henry Arundell and Will Joseph will hope for their first competitive caps Down Under.

England have not played in Australia since 2016, when they won all three of the games. They also overcame the Wallabies in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and are on an eight-match winning streak against their old rivals.

Jones' side ultimately went on to lose the final to South Africa, but they are turning their attention to next year's World Cup in France as they look for their first title since 2003.

England will open the series against Australia in Perth on July 2, before games in Brisbane and Sydney.

England squad in full

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Danny Care, Joe Cokanasiga, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Guy Porter, Harry Randall, Jack van Poortvliet, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward.

Eddie Jones has selected uncapped full-back Tommy Freeman to play for England against the Barbarians, while Danny Care was named on the bench for the first time since 2018.

Care was due to play for the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday, having not been selected for England since being hooked at half-time against Japan four years ago.

The veteran Harlequins scrum-half has 84 England caps and has stood out in the Premiership this season, and now gets the chance to impress ahead of the three-Test tour of Australia in July.

England's most capped player and regular scrum-half Ben Youngs is unavailable due to his commitments with Leicester Tigers in the Premiership final against Saracens on Saturday.

Care's Harlequins team-mate Jack Walker also makes his first England appearance, with Freeman and Gloucester centre Mark Atkinson the other uncapped players to start.

Winger Joe Cokanasiga returns after an almost year-long absence, while Jonny May is on the other wing after a knee injury kept him out of the Six Nations.

Jonny Hill is another who missed the Six Nations but was recalled to the side, which will be captained by back-rower Tom Curry.

England's Six Nations captain Courtney Lawes was named among the replacements, alongside the uncapped trio of Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling and Orlando Bailey.

"This is a young team, they have prepared really well and worked hard over the past few camps to come together as a group," Jones said. 

"It is a great opportunity to play in this England XV side and show what they can do.

“We are looking forward to playing against an unusually French Barbarians side – which you normally only get when you play the French Barbarians.

"We'll use it as an opportunity to develop combinations and assess players for the Australia tour.

"We will put our best foot forward and it should make for a great game of rugby for all of the supporters at Twickenham."

England team: Tommy Freeman, Joe Cokanasiga, Joe Marchant, Mark Atkinson, Jonny May, Marcus Smith Harry Randall; Bevan Rodd, Will Collier, Charlie Ewels, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Alex Dombrandt.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Patrick Schickerling, Courtney Lawes, Jack Willis, Danny Care, Orlando Bailey, Jack Nowell.

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