ENGLAND scrum-half Danny Care’s prospects of playing in Saturday’s first rugby union Test against New Zealand appear increasingly bleak due to a shoulder injury.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster rates Care’s chances of recovering in time for the series opener at Eden Park as 50-50, although he will be given more time to prove his fitness.
The 27-year-old Leeds rugby union product, the catalyst behind England’s improved attacking game in the most recent Six Nations, jarred his shoulder after suffering an accidental fall in training.
Lancaster insists that because the tour to New Zealand spans three Tests, no risks will be taken with the Harlequins half-back. Ben Youngs is on standby to start in Care’s place.
“Danny is 50-50 I’d say at the moment. We want to make sure we’re doing right by him,” Lancaster said.
“To go into a Test against the All Blacks with anyone who is not 100 per cent physically and mentally would be a poor decision, so we need to make sure he’s 100 per cent right.”
England team to face New Zealand at Eden Park: M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), M Tuilagi, (Leicester), K Eastmond (Bath), J May (Gloucester); F Burns (Leicester), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), R Webber (Bath), D Wilson (Bath), J Launchbury (Wasps), G Parling (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), B Morgan (Gloucester). Replacements: J Gray (Harlequins), M Mullan (Wasps), H Thomas (Sale), D Attwood (Bath), T Johnson (Exeter), B Youngs (Leicester), D Cipriani (Sale), C Pennell (Worcester).