Change in England's approach welcomed by Care

England's Danny Care.England's Danny Care.
England's Danny Care.
Danny Care has welcomed the trust shown by Eddie Jones in giving his England players permission to drink.

Jones has told his squad they can “have two pints, but that doesn’t mean have 15 pints” during planned “relaxing nights” to enable them to bond ahead of Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland.

It marks a significant departure from the previous England regime, which kept players on a tight leash in response to the off-field excesses witnessed during the 2011 World Cup.

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“We’ve had a couple of nights where we have gone out for dinner as big groups and a night going out in smaller groups in order to get to know each other a bit better,” said Care, the former Leeds Tykes player.

“We have had a couple of beers, we have been trusted to do that which has been very nice.

“When it is a new squad coming together, you have got to get to know each other and Eddie is very keen we do that on and off the pitch.

“As backs we went out and had a couple of beers and the forwards did the same in a different bar, so we kept away from the big lads! Little things like that are new and different.

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“We’ve not paid for too many drinks ourselves yet, which is nice and we’re going out tonight. I’ve got the RFU’s cash here!”

When asked if it was a departure from the rules in place over the last four years, Care said: “Maybe it’s a little bit different.

“We had our moments, but there was a time and a place for it. With a new coach coming in, you have to break down these barriers.

“You’re knocking lumps out of each other with your clubs and you need to work out a style that’s best for England.”

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Care had fallen out of favour in the build up to last autumn’s World Cup but the Harlequins scrum-half is set to start ahead of Ben Youngs when Jones names his starting XV to face Scotland tomorrow.

“When I first spoke to Eddie a few weeks ago, he said I’ve been playing well and told me to keep doing my stuff,” Leeds-born Care said.

“With two scrum-halves, it gives you the confidence that he rates you. Me and Ben have battled it out for a few years and hopefully there are a few more years to come.

“He wants the nine to be a running, attacking threat. We want to play quickly so he’s getting us fit.

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“Ben and I have been on the bike doing a few extras. That’s the way the game’s going.

“We want to run teams around and have dominance up front but, to get the ball to the danger men out wide, you need a nine who can get to the breakdown and get the ball away.”

Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly will travel to Edinburgh with England’s squad.

The uncapped duo will accompany the 23 selected by Jones last week as reserves, although Itoje could yet feature on the bench at Murrayfield.

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England are monitoring the fitness of Courtney Lawes, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, and will give him until tomorrow to prove he can play.

If the Northampton lock fails to be given the all clear, Itoje will be promoted into the matchday 23 as back-up for Joe Launchbury and George Kruis.

Itoje was named man of the match in Saracens’ victory over Bath on Saturday and forwards coach Steve Borthwick believes the 21-year-old will be an outstanding international.

“Hopefully he has a huge future in front of him,” Borthwick said.

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“He has shown the potential he has and our job now is to help him develop and learn so that he can be an international for England for a long time.

“He’s a young guy and now that he’s spending time around the squad, hopefully it will lay the foundation for an England career that will last a lot of years.

“We don’t need to be rushing him, we just need to make sure that he’s absolutely ready to go.

“Being able to play six and second row is helpful in many ways and it will be interesting to see how he develops.

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“He certainly has the athleticism to operate at six and that’s a huge asset for him,” added Borthwick.

Forwards: D Cole (Leicester), J Clifford (Harlequins), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, captain), J Haskell (Wasps), P Hill (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), C Robshaw (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens).

Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), O Devoto (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Bath), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (Bath), J Nowell (Exeter), A Watson (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester).