England are this week expected to reject calls to sack Danny Care from their squad, by including him in the 22 to face France at Twickenham on Sunday.
Care, the Harlequins scrum half, has been under intense pressure ever since he was sin-binned late in the match against Ireland in Dublin for a wild charge into the back of Irish prop Marcus Horan at a ruck.
Care was only on the field as a replacement for Harry Ellis but his act enraged England manager Martin Johnson, who was seen exasperated in the standards at Croke Park, especially after prop Phil Vickery had already been yellow carded earlier in the game.
Several voices, including former England centre Jeremy Guscott, have since suggested Care should be dropped from the squad as a warning to others about England’s gross indiscipline. A total of ten yellow cards have now been issued to England players in their last four games and they have conceded over 60 penalties in those matches, an alarming number which speaks of their continuing problem over staying within the laws.
I understand that Care received the mother of all rollickings from the England management in the light of his act in Dublin. With him, it was felt, went any chance of an England win in a tight game.
But England look unlikely to accept calls to omit Care against France. The feeling in the camp is that the player has been sufficiently punished by all the opprobrium in the fall out from the Dublin defeat, England’s second in three games this season.
At just 22, it is hoped that he will learn his lesson from the whole experience, a wish that would seem to cover the whole squad. Singling out Care might have looked unfair given that nine other England players have also picked up yellow cards this season.
Thus, unless there is a last minute change of mind, Care seems set to keep his place in the England squad although once again he is likely to be on the substitute’s bench with Ellis starting, assuming the Leicester man is fully fit.