House of Payne: England treatment of Care is shoddy at best
There have been moans for a few years now that the England football team virtually picks itself, but that’s not an issue facing England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster, writes John Payne.
He admitted as much this week when he said: “It’s never easy deciding who to select and that’s what you want – players pushing hard for places across the board.”
Lancaster has shown his faith in Harlequins’ Chris Robshaw, just about, following months of speculation about whether he would remain captain since England’s Grand Slam hopes were blown apart in Cardiff in March.
However, Lancaster has done nothing to suggest he has total faith in Robshaw, unlike that shown to Steven Gerrard in football or Alastair Cook in cricket.
Danny Care has had an even more unpredictable experience, once again being returned to Harlequins this week with England deciding Ben Youngs and Lee Dickson are their favoured scrum-halves to face Australia.
It seems strange given that Lancaster so publically backed Care following a few off-field mishaps – even more so given his livewire performances whenever he has worn an England shirt.
England legend Will Carling certainly thinks Lancaster has got it wrong, saying: “Sad to see Danny Care released by England. We need some of his attacking edge. This November England must develop their attacking prowess.”
Kyran Bracken, a man who won 51 England caps at number nine, added: “Barmy to let him go. Game changer. Are we hoping to grind a win?”
Care himself has had enough ups and downs in his career to be able to handle another setback, but the Yorkshireman must begin to wonder what more he can do.
He once again did his talking on the field in Quins’ 24-3 win over Sale, with director of rugby Conor O’Shea singling him out for praise.
England’s cricketers have recently benefited richly from a consistent selection policy.
In contrast, the grubby treatment of Care suggests our rugby bosses are as far away as ever from knowing their best team.