Veteran Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care has been recalled to England’s squad for next Sunday’s encounter with the Barbarians at Twickenham.
The 35-year-old, who won the last of his 84 Test caps against Japan in 2018, has been in fine form for Harlequins this season and is the shock inclusion in a 36-man England training group, who will use the match against the Baa-baas as part of their preparations for next month’s tour to Australia.
No players from Premiership finalists in the squad
England head coach Eddie Jones has not picked players from Saracens and Leicester Tigers for the Barbarians match – as those clubs are set to face each other in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday – but he has selected a strong squad which include Test stars like Marcus Smith and Courtney Lawes.
After his absence of more than three years in the international arena, it was thought that Care’s Test career was over but he has been one of Harlequins‘ star performers with his creativity being one of his strengths.
The experienced number nine has provided the most try assists (17) in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Premiership seasons and been at the forefront of Quins’ resurgence, which included their title-winning campaign in 2021.
He will be competing for the starting scrum-half spot with Bristol’s Harry Randall, Dan Robson of Wasps and Northampton’s Alex Mitchell, with Leicester’s Ben Youngs out of contention for the Barbarians game – and possibly the Australian tour as well – due to family reasons.
Care’s season with Quins came to an end when they suffered a 34-17 loss to Saracens in their Premiership semi-final and there are several of his club-mates in the England squad along with Northampton players, who were knocked out of their play-off with Leicester.
Quins front-row Will Collier has also been recalled after last representing England but Joe Marler has been omitted from the squad for the Barbarians match, although he could still be named for the Australian trip.
Meanwhile, London Irish’s teenage star Henry Arundell has been included but Wasps’ exciting back-row Alfie Barbeary misses out.
“This is a strong, diverse squad. There are a lot of exciting, young players and some experienced players who have another opportunity to shine,” said Jones.
“Everyone will be given the chance to make their case for being part of the Australia tour squad while we prepare for the Barbarians.
“The Barbarians game at Twickenham is always a great rugby occasion and we know the fans always have a great day out, watching a really entertaining game.
“We’re looking forward to working hard on the training pitch this week so we’re ready for a fantastic match on Sunday.”
England 36-man training squad
Forwards: Biyi Alo (Wasps), Alfie Barbeary (Wasps), Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons), Freddie Clarke (Gloucester) Tom Curry (Sale Sharks) Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Will Goodrick-Clarke (London Irish), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Sam Jeffries (Bristol Bears), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), Tom Pearson (London Irish), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs), Jack Singleton (Gloucester), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Jack Willis (Wasps)
Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish), Charlie Atkinson (Wasps), Mark Atkinson (Gloucester), Orlando Bailey (Bath), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Will Joseph (London Irish), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Paolo Odogwu (Wasps), Max Ojomoh (Bath), Tom Parton (London Irish), Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Dan Robson (Wasps)