England reject Care faces sexual assault allegation

Bailed Harlequins player denies accusation as police inquiry adds to his growing list of troubles

Danny Care, the troubled Harlequins scrum-half jettisoned by England after committing two alcohol-related offences either side of Christmas and who was cautioned for being drunk and disorderly after a further incident earlier this month, has been questioned by officers from the West Yorkshire force investigating an allegation of sexual assault on a woman in Leeds. It emerged yesterday that Care is on police bail pending further inquiries.

The alleged incident took place in the early hours of 4 March – the same day Care was arrested by British Transport Police after being seen urinating on the steps of a Leeds hotel. According to a Harlequins spokesman, he denies the accusation made against him.

"We are fully aware of all the facts," the spokesman said, "and will continue to support Danny as he addresses this situation."

In December, the 25-year-old Yorkshireman was fined £80 for being drunk and disorderly after his club's Heineken Cup game with Toulouse. Then, in the small hours of New Year's Day, he was caught driving over the limit and was subsequently handed a 16-month driving ban, together with a fine of £3,100. There was also a £10,000 fine from his club, who ordered Care to participate in an inner-city community programme.

It has been a desperate few weeks for Care, who missed last year's World Cup through injury.

One of the bitter ironies of the Six Nations just past was that the man who decided Care could play no part in that tournament either was Stuart Lancaster, who had spent more time with the player and done more to shape his career than just about any coach in the country. The two men worked closely together at Leeds, where Care shot through the youth ranks like a tracer bullet, and when Lancaster was asked to run the England show on a caretaker basis, he assumed his protégé would challenge hard for a place in the red-rose line-up for the opening championship game with Scotland at Murrayfield.

That idea went west when Care followed up his pre-Christmas arrest with a second one less than a month later. Lancaster, who had decided that a restoration of behavioural standards following the gruesome excesses of the World Cup campaign must be the principal item on his agenda, felt he had no option but to make an example of the player.

"Danny's behaviour has been unacceptable and he understands that," the coach said at the time. "He's hurting: in fact, I think he's hurting more than any player I've ever worked with. But he's made two very poor errors of judgement in the space of three weeks, both drink-related, and while I don't think he has a lifestyle problem, I can't condone what he's done. However, I believe he'll come back stronger. I hope this gives him the kick-start he needs to be a world-class No 9."

It did not quite work out that way. The hotel steps incident, while not in itself of the same magnitude as the previous misdemeanours, was a body blow to both Care and Lancaster. The player argued that the issue was "more one of a small bladder than of excessive drinking", but the coach said the two of them would be having a "long talk", adding: "From a public profile point of view, there is a responsibility that goes with the job of being a professional sportsman.

"Knowing Danny as I do, I don't think he has a drink problem. I do think he has a long-term future as an England player. But he has to make better decisions. As an international player under scrutiny all the time, he does not want to be putting himself in difficult positions."

Care has been playing regularly for Harlequins – he is scheduled to start this afternoon's Premiership game with Bath at The Stoop – and with the England scrum-half position in a state of flux, he had every chance of being selected for this summer's tour of South Africa. Maybe he still has high hopes. But these last three months have been deeply damaging, to the extent that last autumn's World Cup disappointment must seem a mere trifle by comparison.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit