England’s Danny Care said his surprise return to international rugby was a dream come true, and he showed Eddie Jones that he is better than when he last played for the country.
Care was part of the 36-man party that Jones sent to Australia for the three-Test series against the nation’s national team.
The 35-year-old Care will make his international debut in the series against Australia on Saturday. Last Sunday, he came on as a replacement during England’s 52-21 loss to the Barbarians.
Care said it has been a dream come true to be part of the national team. He added that playing for England has been an excellent experience, and he is grateful to be part of the team.
Care, who last played for England in 2015, admitted that he is not sure how long he will be able to keep playing international rugby. However, the 5-feet-7 said he is a better player than he was four years ago. One of the main factors he has been working on is focusing on enjoyment instead of thinking about what will happen next.
“I definitely think I’m a better player now than I was four years ago, even three years ago. The main thing I’ve been trying to focus on is enjoyment. It frees me up when I’m not thinking about things too much. That’s my type of game. When I overthink stuff, I don’t play my best rugby,” said Care.
A coffee with Jones, the England coach at that time, was the start of Care’s international comeback. He is now playing a vital role in the upcoming series against Australia.
Care as prominent performer
England’s Ben Youngs was unavailable for the tour due to the death of his sister-in-law. He was replaced by Harry Randall and Jack van Poortvliet.
Despite the changes, neither of the new players has the necessary international experience to play at the top level. Care has been one of the most consistent performers in the Gallagher Premiership over the last couple of seasons.
Care was told about his potential return to international rugby by Jones in April. He said the former England coach had nothing to lose and would give everything he had to try and help the team. During their coffee, the two talked about his current performance and how he could help the team.
“I think I can. The dream would be to help the lads win a few games in Australia,” the 35-year-old said.
Care is one of the 10 players who were part of the team that won the three-game series against Australia in 2016. He is back in the international fold alongside Billy Vunipola and eight uncapped players.
Veteran Harlequins scrum-half Care admitted that England is not popular in Australia. However, he believes that the team’s only tour of the World Cup in 2023 could be a critical factor in shaping the team’s future.
Getting to play in hostile environments like Australia, Care thinks it is an excellent opportunity for the young players in the England team to develop a great relationship with their international teammates.
“It’s a place where you’re not particularly liked, which is great. I think the young lads will really enjoy that. I think it’s a great opportunity to develop a great relationship which will hopefully last, put us in great stead for the autumn and the Six Nations and hopefully the World Cup,” Care said.