Aviva Premiership
Care determined to repay faith
ESPN Staff
May 23, 2012
Danny Care on his difficult season
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Players/Officials: Danny Care
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

Danny Care is desperate to put a troubling season behind him as he aims to lead Harlequins to their first Premiership title.

Care has been at the centre of numerous controversies throughout the campaign, having been arrested on four occasions in as many months. But the scrum-half says he has learned from his off-field mistakes and is ready to star in Saturday's final against Leicester.

"I owe a lot of people a big performance on Saturday," Care said. "I have learned a lot of hard lessons. To be thrown out of the England squad is the worst thing you could ever have happen to you as a player.

"I think I have learned a lot and grown up a bit. My main focus has shifted back to what I do best, which is playing rugby. I am a professional rugby player and very fortunate to be in the position I am in. I think I took that for granted and took my eye off the ball.

"The injury before the World Cup probably hit me harder than I had anticipated. The hurt of not going to that World Cup was hard to take. That is when a few things in my personal life took over, rather than me focusing on rugby.

"The stuff off the field was something I needed to change. I probably didn't realise that until the second or third time (I was arrested). It took me a while to realise that I am a professional rugby player, I am probably a role model to a few people and I needed to sort my life out.

"I took a long hard look in the mirror and did that. I have knuckled down and I am really loving playing again. There was a time when I wasn't really enjoying it - missing the Six Nations was heartbreaking but it was my own doing.

"It has been a tough few months but there is definitely that light at the end of the tunnel - and hopefully winning the Premiership on Saturday is that light. It's a massive game for me and the club."

Care has also convinced England coach Stuart Lancaster he can be trusted on tour in South Africa. He will rejoin the England squad behind Lee Dickson and Leicester's Ben Youngs, with whom he will go toe-to-toe in the Premiership decider.

"It has been a tough year and it is nearly a year since I last played for England, against Wales (in a World Cup warm-up match) when I got injured," Care said. "First things first is the game on Saturday. It is the biggest club game in my life and to play against Youngsy adds that extra spice.

"This club is dying to win a trophy and to win the Premiership is what we set out to do. It would be a dream come true to be crowned the best team in England. We have had a few tough times in recent years. Hopefully we can do something special."

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