South Africa v England, Port Elizabeth
Lancaster: Care has earned recall
ESPN Staff
June 21, 2012
England's Danny Care receives some instructions from Graham Rowntree, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, June 21, 2012
Graham Rowntree passes on some words of advice to Danny Care © Getty Images

England boss Stuart Lancaster has backed Danny Care to impress in the third Test with the Springboks this Saturday and claimed the scrum-half has earned his right for a recall.

Care last played for England back in August 2011 and missed the World Cup through injury. He was then dropped by Lancaster ahead of the 2012 Six Nations due to off-field ill discipline. But with Ben Youngs sidelined through injury, Lancaster has named Care at scrum-half for this Saturday's Test.

"Danny and I go back a long way, back to the academy," Lancaster said. "It is nice to finally coach him again in the starting team and I am looking forward to seeing him perform.

"He had a broad grin on his face when I told him. He is a competitive player and he knows he is in a competitive position with Ben Youngs and Lee Dickson both playing well in the Six Nations. I know he was desperately disappointed not to make the first Test or be on the bench, but I said to him he had to work hard and earn the right to get into the team. I feel he has done that."

Care admitted that missing the Six Nations was tough, but claims it was a valuable experience. "Missing the Six Nations was a hard blow to take but, looking back, it made me refocus my life and my career a bit," Care said. "It was probably a good thing to realise what I was missing.

"It seems like a long time ago now - I was obviously going through a tough time and I didn't realise at the time how bad it was. I will look back and in a way be glad of what happened. It refocused me and made me realise what it is to be a professional rugby player and what an honour it is to represent your country.

"I definitely took that for granted and that is certainly something I will never do again. It has given me the motivation to play well and prove a lot of people wrong and prove a lot of people, who stood by me, right."

Lancaster has made six changes ahead of the clash and one notable inclusion was James Haskell at openside. Skipper Chris Robshaw was ruled out of the third Test through injury and Lancaster opted to recall the man who has been absent since last year's World Cup campaign. Haskell has recently played in both Japan and New Zealand and Lancaster has been impressed by the back-row.

"I hadn't coached him before but he has been very positive, upbeat," Lancaster said. "He is an extrovert character but in a good way. He brings a lot of energy to the team. But energy is one thing and physicality is another and we are looking for him to bring that physicality to our back row as a defender and a ball-carrier."

England have already lost the series going into the third Test but Lancaster insists the match is a worthwhile exercise for his side. "I don't think there is such a thing as a dead rubber in international rugby," Lancaster said. "It is about winning the next game.

"We are desperate to go out there, get the win and finish the season on a high. We have got to be an 80-minute team. We have performed well in significant patches of both Tests but we have never had the complete 80 minutes."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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