‘Liberated’ England star Danny Care reveals secret behind longevity and ‘nutritionists hate’ him for it

Jared Wright
Danny Care after England's victory over Argentina in Rugby World Cup.

Danny Care after England's victory over Argentina in Rugby World Cup.

England scrum-half Danny Care is set to make his 99th appearance for his country this weekend in the Six Nations and shared some of his secrets to his longevity.

The 37-year-old has cemented his place back in the Red Rose squad under Steve Borthwick and is showing no signs of slowing down as he edges closer to the 100 cap milestone.

If he features this weekend in the Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland and England’s final 2024 Six Nations match, he will become the sixth men’s player to reach 100 Test caps for the Red Rose.

“Cookies and saunas”

After emerging from a three-and-a-half-year spell in Test exile, Care has taken a different approach to the norm to make sure he can perform at the highest level.

And unlike former Red Rose team-mate Jonny May, who is famed for his dedication to training and preparation, Care takes a more unorthodox route and believes that the nutritionists hate him for it.

“I’m definitely not like Jonny May! I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum to Jonny May. More cookies. Cookies and saunas. And why not if it works? Everyone is so different,” he said.

“I’ve always been quite lucky in that I’ve not been massively into nutrition or believe fully in it, which the nutritionists hate me for!

“I don’t think I’ve cracked it, but I’m 37, and I like to think I’ve shown an alternative way of doing it. Rather than all the protein and the supplements every day…

“I’ve definitely put a bigger emphasis on my recovery in the last few years but I feel better now than I did four or five years ago.

“The team hotel is also an amazing five-star spa, which helps. The sauna and the ice bath are our best friends.

“It’s amazing when you’ve got that on your doorstep and have the time to do it. When I’m at home I can’t just nip out for a couple of hours to ‘recover’, my wife would… well, she wouldn’t be my wife any more!

“But when you’re here and you’ve got the best S&C guys, nutritionists, everyone and it’s all for you. You can be selfish in that way and that helps me a lot.”

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“You never know which one is going to be the last one”

The veteran halfback has not put a timeline on his retirement but is well aware that this will almost certainly be his final visit to Murrayfield.

Care also hopes to have clarity on his club future after the Six Nations, with his current contract at Harlequins expiring at the end of the season.

He was among those dropped by Eddie Jones after the ‘black hole game’ against Japan in 2018, so-called because the dismal performance spelt the end of several test careers.

However, he managed to convince Jones to reconsider after his stellar form with Harlequins, and he continues to be an important part of the England set-up under Borthwick.

“I feel more liberated, I feel more free, I feel like I can just enjoy it. You never know which one is going to be the last one so in a way that gives me freedom to just be myself and really enjoy it,” Care said.

“That’s something that is hard to do when you play for England because you’re constantly on the edge of being judged and want to do well and stay in.

“There are also so many other lads who people think should be playing instead of you, but I don’t care about any of that any more, which is nice.”

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