Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Care Hopes That England Find a Cure for Their Tense Headache; after Failing to Win a Third Tight Contest in a Row, Scrum-Half Says Team Must Learn from France to Get Killer Touch

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Care Hopes That England Find a Cure for Their Tense Headache; after Failing to Win a Third Tight Contest in a Row, Scrum-Half Says Team Must Learn from France to Get Killer Touch

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

DANNY CARE'S satisfaction at emerging as England's first-choice scrum-half during a difficult Six Nations is tempered by the team's repeated failure to win tight matches.

France showed on Saturday in edging out England 12-10 to claim the Grand Slam that great sides find a way to grind out a victory when they are playing badly. By contrast, Care and his teammates need to be operating at their peak just to be in with a shout.

The Harlequins No9 said: "We showed against France how good we can be but they know how to win the tight games and, hopefully, we will learn quickly because we lost a couple we shouldn't have. While there is disappointment, we do have a lot of hope for the future."

Barring a loss of form or injury, Care (left) will be England's scrum-half Down Under this summer having seen off Paul Hodgson and Ben Youngs for the role this Championship. He added: "I wish we had another game next week because of the lingering frustration, however, it was very pleasing to start all five games because that makes such a difference to know the coaches believe you are the man they want. I cannot allow my level to drop with the summer tour looming."

England finished third in the Six Nations but it could have been much better as they conceded a late try to lose 20-16 Ireland and then become embroiled in an arm wrestling contest with Scotland to draw 15-15.

Despite France's struggles in Saturday's tense contest, England lacked the ability to fashion a shock and were left to reflect on what might have been at the end of a Six Nations that exposed Martin Johnson and his coaches to severe criticism.

Former captain Lawrence Dallaglio has dragged Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union's elite rugby director, into the firing line although there appears little appetite for change at present. …

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