Care set to start for England in second Test against All Blacks
Harlequins scrumhalf recovered from freak shoulder injury that ruled him out of opener
Danny Care: scrumhalf in line to replace Leicester’s Ben Youngs in Dunedin. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
The Harlequins scrumhalf suffered a shoulder injury last week and had to withdraw from the first Test but is in now in line to replace Leicester’s Ben Youngs in Dunedin.
Stuart Lancaster is due to announce his starting line-up late today with a number of Six Nations regulars set to bolster the side beaten 20-15 at Eden Park. There are expected to be half a dozen changes, with Care and Owen Farrell poised to resume their half-back partnership in place of Youngs, whose mistake set up the All Blacks for their winning try on Saturday, and Freddie Burns.
“I played in the Six Nations for the first time with Danny and loved it,” said Farrell. “He’s obviously a world-class player and someone who can take any opportunity that comes. Not only that but he can make something out of nothing.”
Freak injury Care’s misfortune initially caused his colleagues much amusement after he mistimed an attempted grubber kick in training and fell over backwards on to his shoulder. They were more sympathetic after he was ruled out of the first Test but his Harlequins team-mate Joe Marler has confirmed the scrum
half is now fine.
“His shoulder is good,” said Marler. “He says it’s back to where it was before he missed a kick and fell over on it. It was gutting that something as minor as that could make him miss the first Test.”
England have only ever won two Tests in New Zealand, in 1973 and 2003, but remain intent on doubling that tally this month. “We have to win this weekend to take it down to the last Test,” stressed Marler. “We’re confident that if we fine-tune a few things we can push the All Blacks even closer.”
Meanwhile Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has made three forced changes to his starting forward pack from the one that destroyed France 50-23 in Brisbane last week for the second test in Melbourne on Saturday.
Hooker Stephen Moore and lock Sam Carter had already been ruled out of the series and the Australian Rugby Union have said that number eight Wycliff Palu would not be available due to an ankle injury.
Moore, who was appointed as captain before the series, tore ligaments in his left knee early in the first test and will require season-ending surgery.
Openside flanker Michael Hooper will replace Moore as skipper.
Carter suffered a high ankle sprain in the match and was ruled out for the rest of the series. His place in the starting side for Melbourne has been taken by James Horwill.
Loss of key forwards Palu also suffered his injury at Lang Park but should be available for the third test in Sydney on June 21st. He was replaced by Ben McCalman in the starting side.
“It’s disappointing to lose three key forwards through injury, but in Tatafu, James and Ben, we’re bringing in a collective 126 game of international test experience,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie introduced three uncapped players on to the bench with hooker Nathan Charles, prop Laurie Weeks and lock Luke Jones in line for their test debuts.
While the Wallabies were rampant in their first test victory, McKenzie said he expected an improved French side on Saturday.