Biggest game of my life – Danny Care excited for England’s South Africa showdown

A repeat of the 2019 final will see England arrive at Stade de France on Saturday as the tournament’s solitary remaining unbeaten team.

Andrew Baldock
Monday 16 October 2023 12:00 BST
Danny Care is relishing England’s semi-final in France (David Davies/PA)
Danny Care is relishing England’s semi-final in France (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

Danny Care is ready for the biggest game of his life when England face South Africa in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

A repeat of the 2019 final will see England arrive at Stade de France on Saturday as the tournament’s solitary remaining unbeaten team.

Four successive pool-stage victories and a quarter-final triumph against Fiji have combined to confound the critics who predicted an underwhelming tournament for Steve Borthwick’s team.

And while reigning world champions South Africa are firm favourites, resilient England remain in the fight.

“We have got two more weeks and a massive game to fly into, which will be the biggest game of my life. I can’t wait,” England scrum-half Care said.

“I think the character of this team was questioned before the World Cup and whether we had anything in us to come out here and do anything.

“Hopefully, we have quietly gone about our business and ticked off a few wins. Four from four in the pools, a fifth in the quarter-final against a team who everybody was saying was going to surprise us and beat us.

“It clicked when we got over here, training went up a notch, perhaps because of the severity of where we were and the realisation that we were at a World Cup – the last one for a few of us, the first for others.

“That mixture came together and we gave it our all. We feel like we deserve to be here. We are going to give it our all next weekend and try and make everyone at home proud.

“We have got a lot of lads who played in the World Cup final four years ago, a lot of lads who have won big trophies, won big games. We will use all of that next week to hopefully get another big win.

“We are delighted to be in the semi-final of this World Cup – one step closer to the dream.”

At 36, Care might be in the twilight phase of a Test career that began 15 years ago, but he has showcased every bit of experience gained from winning 94 England caps.

We have got two more weeks and a massive game to fly into, which will be the biggest game of my life. I can't wait

Danny Care

He followed up scoring the winning try in England’s tense victory over Samoa by being at the forefront of the impressive finale in Marseille that repelled a thrilling Fiji fightback and closed out a 30-24 win.

Owen Farrell’s drop goal and penalty confirmed a semi-final ticket, and Care said of the England captain: “Owen was brilliant, as George (Ford) has been brilliant for four games.

“I have played with Owen for 10-12 years now. His levels never dip, both on the field and off the pitch. He is an unbelievable person, an unbelievable player.

“I still think he won’t get the recognition he properly deserves until he stops playing, which I still find incredible. He is showing again and again what a wonderful world-class player he is. He is a top bloke.”

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