ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster insists scrum-half Danny Care still has a bright international future despite his third alcohol-related offence in the space of three months.
Harlequins No9 Care was cautioned early on Sunday morning in Leeds for being drunk and disorderly after being caught urinating in public.
Lancaster, who has known Care since the player’s early days at Leeds, admitted the 25-year-old’s latest indiscretion was regrettable but believes he remains a leading Test prospect.
“It was another unfortunate incident that should have been avoided. I’ll be meeting him soon to discuss the decisions he is making,” said Lancaster. “I don’t think he has got a long-term problem and I want to give him help to make the right decisions. He has a bright future for England.”
Care was frozen out of England’s Six Nations squad by interim boss Lancaster in January after admitting drink-driving. Premiership leaders Quins fined the player £10,000 and ordered him to undertake work in their community programme following the incident, which also earned him a 16-month driving ban.
That came just weeks after a separate controversy that saw Care fined for being drunk and disorderly.
Quins chief Conor O’Shea held talks with Care yesterday and, despite condemning his latest indiscretion, promised the club’s full backing.
“The situation Danny finds himself in is unfortunate and is one that could and should have been avoided,” said O’Shea. “We have no intention of doing anything other than supporting Danny and continuing to work with him so he understands his position and the decisions he makes.”
The erratic form of Leicester’s Ben Youngs means Care would have had the chance to stake his claim for a starting place at the Six Nations, were he available for selection. Instead his Quins colleague Karl Dickson was last night called up to the England squad ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France, as Wasps No9 Joe Simpson has a dislocated shoulder.