England drops scrumhalf Care over alcohol offenses
Updated: January 04, 2012, 12:51
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LONDON(AP) Danny Care will miss the Six Nations following his second arrest in three weeks for alcohol-related offenses, demonstrating England's no-nonsense approach to off-field misbehavior since its ill-fated World Cup.
Care, England's second-choice scrumhalf behind Ben Youngs, failed a drunk-driving test on New Year's Day and will plead guilty when he appears in court on Jan. 16, the Rugby Football Union said on Wednesday.
With the incident coming soon after he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly the night after a match for his club side Harlequins, Care's off-field discretions have cost him a chance of appearing for England in its defense of the Six Nations title.
"At such a time that we feel he can be trusted to behave appropriately on and off the field, then he will be reconsidered for selection, but this will not be until the conclusion of the Six Nations as a minimum,'' England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster said.
Care, who was fined 10,000 pounds ($15,650) by Harlequins following his latest arrest, said he was "devastated'' not to be selected by England.
"I do understand the need for England players to be role models in the game and have tried to live up to that at all times, but have made a couple of stupid decisions in the past weeks,'' Care said in a statement on the website of his management company.
"I can only hope for the chance in the future to prove those decisions were the exception not the rule. I am devastated because my actions have let so many people down.''
Hours before his latest arrest, Care wrote on his Twitter account that the aim for 2012 was to "earn respect. Earn the shirt. Set the example.''
Care missed the recent World Cup in New Zealand because of injury, thus avoiding a tournament that turned into a PR disaster for England.
Vice captain Mike Tindall was disciplined for his drunken behavior in an infamous Queenstown drinking session with other teammates, while three players were reprimanded for allegedly making sexist comments to a hotel worker in Dunedin.
Brought in as coach in December as a temporary replacement for Martin Johnson for the Six Nations, Lancaster has vowed to rid the national team of the off-the-field indiscipline that marred its World Cup campaign.
"This is his second arrest in three weeks for alcohol-related offenses and it is completely unacceptable,'' said Lancaster, who has established a reputation for being a disciplinarian.
In light of the new clampdown on player discipline, Lancaster has invited respected England rugby league captain Jamie Peacock and a British soldier to speak to the squad in the run-up to the Six Nations about what it means to represent the country.
"Hopefully, it will help create that sense of, 'This is a very privileged place to be,''' Lancaster said.
Care said he will "take the punishment that the courts hand out'' after deciding not to contest the drunk-driving charge.
"I want to bring this to a close swiftly rather than have it hanging over my head for a year or more,'' he said. "I would stress though that at no time did I think I had drunk enough to be over the legal limit.
"However, I should not have got into the car and have to accept the consequences of that action ... it's now up to me to get my head down, keep playing well and learn from my actions.''
The Six Nations starts on Feb. 4.