Care Fitness Boost for England

Danny Care's return to fitness will boost England's RBS 6 Nations challenge
©Press Association

Stuart Lancaster has today revealed that England and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care will return to training on Thursday following ankle trouble.

The Quin limped out of his side’s 16-13 Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop on the 11th of January.

The playmaker’s fitness is sure to boost England’s Six Nations title challenge, with a large portion of the squad already ravaged with injury.

England start their Six Nations campaign with a trip to face France in Paris on Saturday, February 1.

Lancaster believes backline trio Ben Foden, Marland Yarde and Manu Tuilagi are less likely to find fitness during the Six Nations.

"Danny Care's hopefully going to train on Thursday," said Lancaster.

"Other than that we actually came through the European week pretty well.

"We gave Dan Cole a rest because of a sore neck but he's fine. Ben Foden and Marland Yarde are making good progress and they should be February-time in terms of a return to club rugby, but we don't know beyond that yet.

"Manu's making good progress but depending on where Leicester see him, we'll make sure he's right."

Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph and Gloucester's Henry Trinder are all natural outside centres missing through injury.

Add in Joel Tomkins to the list of absentees and Lancaster said he must be more fluid with his centre selection than in the past.

That raises the prospect of Lancaster not selecting outright inside and outside centres, asking his Six Nations pairing to mix and match the duties across the partnership.

"It's great to have Brad Barritt back there and he has trained for the first time with us since March last year," said Lancaster, of Saracen Barritt's return after long-term foot trouble.

"We've got some decisions to make in the centres, but we are pleased with Kyle Eastmond, Billy Twelvetrees, Luther Burrell and Brad.

"The good thing about Luther is he came to Argentina, he was involved in the QBEs even though he didn't play.

"That concept of inside, outside centre is a slightly outdated one for modern rugby.

"You need one guy to get you across the gain-line and one to act as a playmaker."

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