Care-less England out to rebuild image
DANNY CARE has issued a humble apology after being banned from England's Six Nations squad following his arrest for drink driving on New Year's Day.
England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster told Care (right) his actions were "completely unacceptable" and that he would not be considered by England until he could be trusted again.
Care had already been on a warning from Lancaster after being fined by police for being drunk and disorderly just three weeks before this latest incident.
But Care, who has said he will plead guilty to the drink-driving charge when he appears in court on January 16, says he is ashamed of his actions and is still hoping for another chance.
"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 (I) have made a couple of stupid decisions in the past weeks," he said.
"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."
Care's pleading is likely to fall on deaf ears in the England camp, however, with the interim management desperately attempting to rebuild respect for a team still scarred by a disappointing World Cup punctuated by reports of bad behaviour by players.
"You just can't do it as a leading professional sportsman," said assistant coach Graham Rowntree. "We are at the start of a new campaign. We can't tolerate it and that is why we have taken the stance we have.
Lancaster insisted Care's punishment was not designed to send out a strong message about discipline to the rest of the players -- but it will do so.
When the squad come into camp on January 23, they will head to Yorkshire League Two club West Park Leeds instead of their usual luxurious resort in Portugal.
The squad will have curfews imposed and limits placed on drinking, they will take part in community work and guest speakers will be brought in to remind the players what it means to represent England.
"We have a situation where the reputation of young players in the country isn't great," Lancaster said. "I think there is a perception out there and I know the players well enough to know they won't enjoy that perception."
Lancaster is due to name his Six Nations squad next Wednesday.
There is a strong possibility it will include Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan after he yesterday declared international allegiance to England.
Care, back in prime form after missing the World Cup with a foot injury, was a certain pick before this latest incident.
"He is hurting like I have never seen a player I have coached hurt before," Lancaster said.
"Irrespective of my personal relationship with him or my desire to see him play for England, what he has done is unacceptable and he has to pay the consequence."