Danny Care has played over thirty minutes of England’s two internationals this November as one of Eddie Jones’ “game changers”.
He spoke to RugbyPass about whether a one point loss to the world champions last weekend could be seen as a decent result in the team’s evolution.
Care said told us, “You’d never say a loss is a good result. To only lose by a point was tough but it’s shown us that we’re not far off and on another day that could easily have been a victory to us. You could say that with the first game as well, that South Africa might be sat there going – we should have been on the other side of the result.
That’s the fine margins in rugby at the moment, there isn’t a lot an awful lot between teams which is exciting for the punters.”
Care’s team mate Sam Underhill topped the tackle count and also equalled the metres made stat with winger Jonny May. His most memorable contribution however was a moment that will not be recorded in history, with his stunning finish to cross the whitewash correctly ruled out by the TMO for Courtney Lawes straying offside.
Care commented, “It was pretty impressive from Sam. [Scoring the try] would have been a nice little moment for him to cap off an amazing individual performance. But I’m just annoyed we didn’t take a quite drop goal so that [the referee] couldn’t go back to the TMO. He’s certainly let the boys know he’s a good runner with the ball, he reckons, as well
as a good tackler.”
With a long list of seemingly front line players missing from this campaign, England have fared relatively well at Twickenham, under pressure at having lost five successive games earlier this year.
Care remarked, “The big thing from the last few weeks, you just look at the strength in depth that we’ve got in this squad. A lot of people were writing us off with the amount of injuries that we’ve got.
“You’ve still got to throw Billy and Mako back into that team, Manu’s not far away. I think the boys that have stepped in this campaign and the guys making their debuts or the guys who’ve maybe not played a lot of rugby for England – you look at someone like Mark Wilson who I just think has been unbelievable. Ben Moon coming in shows you never really know when your opportunity’s going to come but you’ve got to grasp it with both hands when you get it. I think boys have really done that and it’s going to be a hard squad to stay in because boys are so competitive.”
With tight decisions causing so much debate in almost every game it seems currently, Care was asked about whether the game is harder than ever to decipher for referees and fans.
Care replied, “I feel for the refs, I really do. They’ve got 30 lads screaming at them for decisions and they’ve got to make decisions that ultimately cost teams or make the teams win.
“It’s incredible tough for the refs and they can’t see everything. All we can do as players is just try and be as clear and obvious as we can be. On defence, on the offside line, talking to the ref, is the ball out – all that sort of thing which is hard in the heat of the moment. It’s a tough old job the refs have got to do, they have to make some big decisions, let’s just hope they get them right.”
England take on Japan on Saturday having only ever played them once before. With Eddie Jones having coached them to the last Rugby World Cup and their famous win against South Africa in Brighton, has the now England head coach offered any insight?
Care said, “Obviously he’s spent a lot of time with them. We’ve watched a lot of their clips. Take the scrum halves for example, they’re incredibly quick to the ball, to get the ball away their passing is brilliant, their technique is fantastic and they like to run with the ball. We’re taking nothing for granted this week, we know how hard it’s
going to be. They can come with some surprise attacks and we’ve got to be ready for anything this weekend. We’re looking forward to it, mostly focussing on ourselves and hopefully we’ll get the job done.”
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