Care hopes fading

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.

England's Danny Care

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.

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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).