Lancaster refuses to be Care-worn

The scrum-half's latest incident and impending RFU job interview add to coach's heavy workload

Good leaders are said to be able to function on three hours of sleep a night. If only Stuart Lancaster, currently engaged in the process of proving to his Twickenham employers that he is a sufficiently capable coach to lead England to the home World Cup in 2015, had the luxury of spending such vast amounts of time under the duvet.

Yesterday, the caretaker coach found himself balancing preparations for the imminent job interview that could define his career with his response to the news that Danny Care, the Harlequins scrum-half, had committed a third drink-related offence in as many months. Oh yes, almost forgot: he was also up to his eyes in planning for this weekend's important Six Nations match with France in Paris – not to mention the final-round meeting with Ireland six days later.

Ian Ritchie, the newly-installed Rugby Football Union chief executive, said last week that Lancaster, one of only two men known for sure to be on the shortlist for the full-time role of head coach, might well be interviewed before the end of the tournament. If, as Lancaster justifiably assumes, Ritchie takes England's training programme into consideration before summoning him for an interrogation, there are only a couple of likely dates: this coming Thursday or Wednesday of next week.

Lancaster was diplomacy personified when asked whether he could conceivably present himself in the best possible light while plotting the downfall of a team who went within a single score of winning the World Cup in New Zealand as recently as last October and have not lost a Six Nations game on home soil since Brian Ashton's red-rose side found a way past them in 2008. "Yes, I believe so," he said. "There is only so much you can do in any one training week and, anyway, there are things I can't control and this is one of them. We'll have to see how the timings work out."

Given the RFU's inexplicable desperation to identify a head coach before the end of the championship, which Lancaster's side could still win if they eke out a result in Paris, the latest booze-fuelled incident involving Care was the last thing anyone needed. The half-back was cautioned by British Transport Police at the weekend after being caught urinating against a building after a night out in Leeds.

It was hardly of the same magnitude as his previous misdemeanours – fined for being drunk and disorderly before Christmas, he landed himself in court on a drink-driving charge following an arrest in the early hours of New Year's Day – and Care argued that "the issue was more one of a small bladder than of excessive drinking". The Harlequins director of rugby, Conor O'Shea, coincidentally one of the five men who will interview the candidates for the England coaching post, said the club would take no action.

But Lancaster, who jettisoned Care from the Six Nations squad after the drink-drive arrest, said would be having a "long talk" with the player.

"From a public profile point of view, there is a responsibility that goes with the job of being a professional sportsman," the coach said. "You can't curb people's social habits to the extent that they don't go out at all, but this is another unfortunate incident that could and should have been avoided. 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 doesn't want to be putting himself in difficult positions."

Most specifically, perhaps, putting himself up against a wall.

There was some positive news yesterday, despite the flurry of bad news concerning various injured members of the England squad: the Northampton lock Courtney Lawes and the Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson, will both be out of circulation for weeks to come, along with Harlequins hooker Chris Brooker, who suffered a serious knee injury at the weekend. However, No 8 Ben Morgan will play for Gloucester next season after finalising a move from the Llanelli-based Scarlets. "I'm pleased that Ben is coming back to play his club rugby in England," Lancaster said. Harlequins' scrum-half Karl Dickson and Wasps' forward Joe Launchbury were added to the squad as cover for Simpson and Lawes.

Philippe Saint-André, the France coach, named an unchanged squad for Sunday's match after resisting the temptation to recall scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, who proved his fitness after injury by scoring 25 match-winning points for Biarritz at the weekend. Ireland have lost their captain, Paul O'Connell, and their scrum-half, Conor Murray, for the rest of the Six Nations. Both suffered knee injuries in the draw in France two days ago.

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?