Care returns to domestic duty

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The Independent Online

The England scrum-half Danny Care, whose needless charge on Ireland's Marcus Horan earned the player a yellow card and incurred manager Martin Johnson's wrath, has been released to Harlequins for the coming weekend.

Care is one of 17 red-rose squad members who are going to get some game time with their clubs in the next round of Premiership matches. But the starting XV against Ireland will all assemble at Oulton Hall near Leeds for a three-day get-together, including the injured winger Paul Sackey and the fly-half Toby Flood.

Sackey's injury is not as bad as at first feared. An X-ray revealed no bone damage so he is being treated for a sore calf muscle, while Flood suffered what is described as a "minor dead leg" to his left thigh.

The news was not so good for France's Jean Baptiste Elissalde, who injured an elbow in a club match last week and could be out for up to six weeks, dashing any hopes he might have harboured of breaking back into the squad.

Richard Hill, who parted company with Bristol late last week, announced yesterday that, contrary to speculation, he will not be joining the French Top 14 club Montauban.

"I did go across there and talk to them," said the former Bath and England scrum-half Hill, "but Montauban is not going to happen now." It is believed that Marc Raynaud, the French club's captain and back-row forward will now take over as coach.

Hill revealed that he is wanted by other clubs – "I have had offers, and not just from overseas." This will be grist to the rumour mills that Hill, who has served a 14-year apprenticeship in coaching, will be targeted by Leicester, for whom Richard Cockerill is currently acting head coach.

The Bath centre and captain Alex Crockett is to appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel in Bristol tonight as a result of his sending off against Gloucester last Saturday. Crockett received two yellow cards, the second commuted to a red card. The first offence was a technical one, the second was for an alleged dangerous tackle.

Representatives of the 12 Premiership clubs and the RFU meet at Twickenham today to address a full agenda, top of which is likely to be the thorny question of overseas players. Other matters up for discussion should be Premier Rugby Limited's proposal to increase the Premiership by six matches; the RFU's defence of retaining the Anglo-Welsh Cup; and how the game can combat the recession.

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