Care out in the cold after 'errors of judgement'

Scrum-half dropped from England's Six Nations squad following drink-driving arrest and has tough task to save international career

If injury cost Danny Care the chance to enjoy the full World Cup experience with England – excessive boozing, dwarf throwing, ball switching, harbour diving, losing to France in the quarter-finals, that kind of thing – he has been making up for it ever since. Before Christmas, the Harlequins scrum-half was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, given a fixed penalty fine and told by all and sundry to reflect on the error of his ways. Did he do so? Apparently not. In the early hours of New Year's Day he tested positive for driving over the limit and will now appear in court on 16 January.

As a consequence, he will play no part in the forthcoming Six Nations Championship. The England caretaker coach, Stuart Lancaster, met with Care and the Quins director of rugby, Conor O'Shea, on Monday and informed the 25-year-old player he would not be in the new 32-man elite squad when it is named next week. "It was not a decision I made lightly, but it was the right decision," Lancaster said yesterday. "His behaviour has been unacceptable. He understands that."

Care has also been fined £10,000 by his club and ordered to participate in the Londoners' inner-city coaching programme until the end of next season, by which point he may be back in the England frame. There again, he may not. The Rugby Football Union, fed up to the back teeth with player transgressions following the laughably undisciplined World Cup campaign, made it clear that omission from the Six Nations was the starting point of Care's punishment but not necessarily the end of it.

Lancaster and Care go back a long way – the two worked closely together during their time at Leeds – and the coach was not joking when he said he took no pleasure in reading his protégé the riot act. "Danny is hurting at the moment," Lancaster said. "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 it gives him the kick-start he needs to be a world-class No 9."

While the coach insisted he did not take the bad behaviour at the World Cup into account in punishing a man who had been a long way from New Zealand when the misdemeanours were committed, Lancaster did acknowledge that this latest incident reinforced the widespread perception that England's elite rugby players perform rather better at the bar than they do on the field. "I think it's important that we change the way people think," he acknowledged. "When I visit my grassroots club on a Sunday morning, I want the parents and children there to see the England team as something in which they can take pride."

Graham Rowntree, the one member of the World Cup coaching team to survive the tournament and its painful aftermath, has seen an awful lot of dodgy behaviour at first hand and is, as he confessed yesterday, heartily fed up with talking about it. Hence his aggressive condemnation of Care. "This, you cannot tolerate," said the forwards strategist. "You just can't do this kind of thing as a leading professional sportsman. We want players to be able to relax; we don't want to operate in a prison camp environment. But there must be limits. People have to know when to go home."

Wisely, Care was open and honest in addressing the issue. "I have decided not to contest the charge as I want to bring this to a close swiftly rather than have it hanging over my head for a year or more," he said. "I'm devastated. It's now up to me to get my head down, keep playing well and learn from my actions."

Ben Youngs of Leicester, the current first-choice No 9 at Test level, and the inexperienced Joe Simpson of Wasps are certain to be included in the Six Nations squad. Lee Dickson of Northampton, one of the hardest-working players in the Premiership, should be among the contenders for the third half-back berth.

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice