Danny Care to add to Premiership exodus as French club targets British and Irish Lion and Wallaby

Jared Wright
Danny Care of England salutes the fans after the 2024 Guinness 6 Nations match England vs Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, United Kingdom, 9th March 2024

Danny Care of England salutes the fans after the 2024 Guinness 6 Nations match England vs Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, United Kingdom, 9th March 2024.

Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care looks set to join the Premiership exodus to France following the announcement of his retirement from international rugby.

Care announced on Monday that he has hung up his Test boots after becoming the sixth men’s international to rack up 100 matches for the Red Rose, and the 37-year-old now looks set to bring his professional career to a close in France.

The livewire number nine has spent much of his 21-year career at Harlequins, a club he joined in 2006 after debuting for Leeds Tykes three years prior.

However, according to reports across the Channel, he has been shortlisted by one Top 14 club along with a Wallaby and Scotland international.

Care off to Perpignan?

According to French publication, L’Indépendant, Care is one of four scrum-halves that Perpignan is looking at as they ramp up their recruitment for next season.

The Top 14 outfit, who currently sit in 11th place on the overall table, were one of the leading clubs to land Manu Tuilagi’s signature – but ultimately lost the race to his services to Bayonne – and have now seemingly turned their attentions to another England veteran in Care.

Perpignan looks set to recruit more than one number nine and while Care would add plenty of experience to the club, they are looking at a player at the other end of their career, namely, Léo Carbonneau – son of ex-France scrum-half Philippe, who played over 50 Tests for Les Bleus – who captained his country during the U20 Six Nations.

‘Unbelievably proud’ England centurion Danny Care calls time on Test career

The 19-year-old is currently contracted to Brive until 2026 and has cemented himself as a regular in matchday squads for the side, already playing 20 times, including 14 starts.

Despite Care’s age, he continues to be a key cog in the Quins backline and impressed for England during the World Cup last year, remaining in Steve Borthwick’s plans before hanging up his boots after the 2024 Six Nations.

Wallaby and Scotland internationals

Meanwhile, the club are also tracking Wallabies scrum-half Jake Gordon, whose contract with the Waratahs and Rugby Australia expires at the end of 2025.

It is yet to be seen if he will be in Joe Schmidt’s plans for the Wallabies this year but the 30-year-old half-back has played just 20 times for his country since making his debut in 2018. He was not picked by Eddie Jones in 2023 and could cash on his value particularly if he is not in Schmidt’s plans.

Premiership Team of the Week: Saracens dominate after London Derby blowout as George Chuter impressed by ‘complete ten’ Owen Farrell

Finally, British and Irish Lions and Scotland scrum-half Ali Price is also on the club’s shortlist.

Price linked up with Edinburgh on loan from Glasgow Warriors after the 2023 Rugby World Cup as a consequence of the depth in the number nine jumper at the latter. The 30-year-old has regularly been involved with the Scotland team over the years and until recently was the clear first-choice scrum-half for head coach Gregor Townsend.

His form for Scotland in 2021 earned him a place in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad for the tour to South Africa, where he featured in all three Test matches – starting two.

Former Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw represented Clermont between 2017 and 2020 before ending his career in Japan and Price could follow his footsteps with a move to Perpignan.

The report adds that the four-man shortlist is not exhaustive, and the club will look elsewhere if it is unsuccessful with its targets.

If Care were to leave Harlequins to join the Top 14 club, he would join the long list of England and Premiership stars heading across the Channel next season, including Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, and Kyle Sinckler.

READ MORE: Louis Rees-Zammit could bolster Patrick Mahomes’ offence at Super Bowl champions