Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

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Danny Care is set to win his 100th cap for England when they face Ireland in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

Six Nations 2024: Danny Care's favourite England memories before potential 100th cap
Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

He would become the sixth Englishman to reach the milestone after Ben Youngs, Jason Leonard, Owen Farrell, Dan Cole and Courtney Lawes.

The scrum-half joined Rugby Union Daily to reflect on his career to date – from the highs of winning the Six Nations to the lows of being substituted before half-time against Australia in 2022.

Read Care’s memories – then test your knowledge in a quiz.

2012: ‘The perfect game’ against New Zealand

Six Nations 2024: Danny Care's favourite England memories before potential 100th cap
Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

The All Blacks had been unbeaten in 20 matches when they arrived at Twickenham in 2012, a run which included winning their home World Cup in 2011.

Stuart Lancaster, who took over as England head coach in 2011, had recently blooded a new era of young internationals and wanted them to play without fear.

His side pulled off one of the great victories in England history as they destroyed the world champions 38-21.

Centre Manu Tuilagi was the standout performer that day, with Care appearing in the closing stages off the bench.

“Everything came off and it was almost the perfect game, which never really happens,” Care told Rugby Union Daily.

“But it happened that day and I got to come on at the end and just enjoy the fact we were 20 points up against New Zealand – how many times can you do that?”

2014: Try against Ireland

Six Nations 2024: Danny Care's favourite England memories before potential 100th cap
Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

Following a narrow opening-round defeat by France, England needed to win their remaining games to keep their Six Nations hopes alive.

Victory over Scotland followed before undefeated Ireland came to Twickenham.

With the game finely poised at 10-6 to Ireland, Chris Robshaw’s offload released Mike Brown and his final pass sent Care racing under the posts to score the winning try in a 13-10 victory.

“It is definitely up there [favourite England try] as that week we just found out that [wife] Jodie was expecting Blake so it was a mad week,” Care recalled.

“It was pretty special to know you are going to be a dad and then to play for England.

“I remember [Johnny] Sexton and [Brian] O’Driscoll chasing me in for the try. That feeling when you know you are in and 80,000 people at Twickenham know – it was an amazing feeling.”

Ireland went on to win the championship, but Care sparked England’s title hopes again.

2016: The Grand Slam try

Six Nations 2024: Danny Care's favourite England memories before potential 100th cap
Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

“That one is my favourite try for England.”

Two years on and England were back in the hunt for the title, but this time for a Grand Slam with only France standing in their way at Stade de France.

Eddie Jones’ side won their final game 31-21 and it was Care who opened the scoring with a moment of individual brilliance.

With England in possession, just inside the French half, the scrum-half saw a gap at the ruck and sprinted clear untouched.

“A lot of my tries have been from a short distance or dummies and go. That one when I went through – you never get a 40-metre run-in from a nine snipe – it never happens,” he said.

“And in a Grand Slam-deciding game, so that’s why it is my favourite try in an England shirt.”

Despite spending the majority of the campaign on the bench, Care was selected ahead of Ben Youngs to start the decider – and repaid Jones’ faith.

2022: ‘One of the worst feelings’ against Australia

Six Nations 2024: Danny Care's favourite England memories before potential 100th cap
Six Nations 2024: Danny Care’s favourite England memories before potential 100th cap

Following the autumn of 2018, Jones looked past Care for his squad options at scrum-half.

It looked like his international career might have been over until he was recalled in 2022 for the tour to Australia.

Care started the first Test before being dropped to the bench after the defeat.

However, Care was surprisingly picked to start the decider, but was replaced after 35 minutes, a decision he now “annoyingly agrees” with.

“It was awful. One of the worst feelings I have had on the pitch,” Care added.

“Apparently a coach at the time said you’d make a far bigger impact on the team by pulling someone if things aren’t going great before half-time than after, as it will shock the rest of the team into a performance.

“I prefer it happened to me than a young lad as I am big enough and old enough to take it.”

2010: Favourite era

When asked about his favourite era playing for England, Care settled on 2010, though the recent World Cup he also “loved”.

“We were the young boys coming through [in 2010] and you had the legends – Jonny Wilkinson, Lewis Moody and Mike Tindall,” said Care.

“We were the young energy-givers and I loved that. We had so much fun together.”

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