Danny Care dropped from England squad after second drink related offence


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The Independent Online

Danny Care will be excluded from England's Six Nations squad after being arrested for drink driving, the Rugby Football Union have confirmed.

England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster has taken the strong disciplinary action because it was Care's second alcohol-related incident in three weeks.

The Harlequins scrum-half was fined for being drunk and disorderly after being arrested in the early hours of December 10, following his club's Heineken Cup defeat to Toulouse.

Although Care was also fined a "substantial" amount by Harlequins, England took no further disciplinary action on that occasion.

But after the latest incident over the festive season Lancaster has now decided to come down strongly on the 25-year-old, who missed the World Cup with a foot injury but was certain of a place in England's Six Nations plans.

The squad will be announced on January 11.

But Lancaster has met with Care, told him his behaviour is not what is expected of an England player and that he will not be included in either the senior or Saxons squads.

Care's management company this morning released a statement on their website, http://www.bigredmanagement.com.

It read: "I do accept that I made a very bad decision on the evening in question and need to take the punishment that the courts hand out.

"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.

"I would stress though that at no time did I think I had drunk enough to be over the legal limit. However I should not have got into the car and have to accept the consequences of that action.

"I am devastated not to be selected for the Elite Player Squad for the Six Nations as I felt I had been playing near the top of my game with Quins.

"However I wish the team, and the other number nines who come in to play, the best of luck as playing for your country is the highest honour in the game and I will miss it hugely. It's now up to me to get my head down, keep playing well and learn from my actions.

"Quins and Stuart have been very supportive and I totally accept their sanctions.

"I do understand the need for England players to be role models in the game and have tried to live up to that at all times, but have made a couple of stupid decisions in the past weeks.

"I can only hope for the chance in the future to prove those decisions were the exception not the rule. I am devastated because my actions have let so many people down."

The RFU issued a statement on Care which read: "England and Harlequins have taken action following Danny Care's arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the early morning of New Year's Day.

"Danny will appear in court on January 16 and will be pleading guilty to the charge.

"The club and England are deeply disappointed with Danny's actions and will not tolerate this type of behaviour.

"The club held an internal investigation on Monday, January 2 in conjunction with the England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster and will be sanctioning Danny accordingly.

"Resulting from the enquiries Danny will not be considered for selection for the England Elite Player squads and will miss this year's RBS 6 Nations as a minimum.

"Danny will also be fined £10,000 by Harlequins and will be required to work on the club's inner city coaching programme until end of pre-season 2012-13.

"The club will also look to work with the Rugby Players' Association to ensure Danny is given the necessary support and education around alcohol awareness."

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "I have met Danny and told him that he will not be considered for selection for the Senior or Saxons Elite Player Squads that are due to be announced on the 11th January for the forthcoming Six Nations campaign.

"This is his second arrest in three weeks for alcohol related offences and it is completely unacceptable.

"We will monitor his progress from this event through Harlequins and we have every confidence in the club to support him in the right way.

"At such a time that we feel he can be trusted to behave appropriately on and off the field then he will be reconsidered for selection, but this will not be until the conclusion of the Six Nations as a minimum."

In a statement released by Quins, club director of rugby Conor O'Shea said: "Danny's actions are inexcusable and we are all deeply disappointed and feel very let down," he said.

"Danny knows what he did is wrong and has accepted the responsibility for his actions.

"Danny is one of the nicest guys you could meet, and bitterly regrets the damage this incident has done to both his and the club's reputation."

O'Shea added on BBC Radio Five: "He made a very, very bad decision and has got to pay a very, very high penalty for it.

"He'll be tainted, and he's brought that on himself in a way that is not him. But he's not trying to hide behind anything, he's fronted up very quickly."