Dylan Hartley has called on Eddie Jones to include Danny Care in England’s autumn internationals off the back of his successful half-back pairing with Marcus Smith.
Both Care and Smith played a crucial role in Harlequins’ Gallagher Premiership triumph last season, and the two again linked up brilliantly in the Londoner’s win against Bristol Bears on Friday.
Care last played for England almost three years ago, and at the age of 34 the scrum-half presumably doesn’t have much of his career left, but his form in recent times has arguably never been better.
Former England captain Hartley was speaking to RugbyPass at Prime Video’s launch of their autumn internationals coverage and argued that Care and Smith can transfer their form at Harlequins to test rugby.
Dylan Hartley on Danny Care and Marcus Smith.
“Good news, the whizz kid, Marcus Smith has been included. He epitomises everything that is attacking for me,” Hartley said.
“Eddie is smart enough, I am not putting words into his mouth, not to pick Marcus and then constrict him to play a different way. I will say give him the keys to grandpa’s car, let him take a spin and be surprised if the car comes back.
“I don’t know what old guy they can bring back. Maybe bring back Danny Care, there is a reason Marcus Smith is so good. He puts the ball in Marcus Smith’s hands.”
Can’t tell you how happy it made me running out to a rocking Stoop again! Not perfect, but another win and some more memories made with my 2 little best mates ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2VMtFVCxpw
— Danny Care (@dannycare) September 25, 2021
England’s options at half-back.
Eddie Jones has rarely changed his half-back pairing while he has been England’s head coach, with Ben Youngs at scrum-half more often than not, while George Ford and Owen Farrell have shared the number 10 jersey.
That may be set to change soon however with the emergence of Marcus Smith, who was included ahead of Ford in England’s recent training squad.
Bristol’s Harry Randall started at scrum-half in both of England’s tests this summer in the absence of most of the country’s senior stars, while Dan Robson came off the bench on both occasions.
Care’s form won’t have escaped Jones’ attention, but the head coach’s intention to build for the 2023 Rugby World Cup will certainly act as a barrier to the Harlequins stalwart’s chances of more England caps.
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