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Care kicks alcohol into touch

Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care has stopped drinking as he looks to get his career back on track after being arrested four times in three months.

The second of those arrests saw the 25-year-old banned from driving for 16 months and fined £3,100 for drink driving in the early hours of New Year's Day, prompting England coach Stuart Lancaster to leave Care out of his RBS 6 Nations squad and leaving his international career in doubt.

Care told the Evening Standard: "It's been a while off the booze now and I do feel fitter and while it's been tough, it has worked. I'm not going to say, 'I will never drink again' and I don't have a drink problem - but I've made bad decisions when I've been drinking and now, hopefully, the trouble will go away."

Care, who has won 31 caps, has not worn the red rose since suffering a toe injury in the August defeat to Wales in Cardiff, an injury which ended his World Cup aspirations

He added: "I don't think I realised how much the toe injury affected me and people thought I was okay because I put on a smile.

"Looking back, it affected me more than I realised and my mother thinks I was hiding the pain of missing the World Cup having been involved for nearly four years leading into New Zealand.

"(Harlequins' sports psychologist) Kate Hayes thinks frustration did build up, my focus slipped and I took my eye off what was required to be an England number nine."

Care, who is preparing for Harlequins' Aviva Premiership semi-final against Northampton, has been back to near his best form in recent weeks, and is tipped to be named in Lancaster's squad to tour South Africa. And he is keen to make the most of the chance to revive his Test career.

"Playing for England was taken away from me and I'm never going to let that happen again," he said.

"It's been a long time since that Wales game and my aim is to win back that number nine jersey and, fortunately, I'm in a very good Quins team. We were the best team in the Premiership but haven't won anything yet and that is why our focus is on Northampton and getting into that final."

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