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Care in contention for England return


Danny Care may be back in contention for an England place

Danny Care may be back in contention for an England place

Danny Care may be back in contention for an England place

Harlequins' mercurial talent Danny Care could be in sight of an England return after injury forced Ben Youngs out of the tour of South Africa.

Youngs looked to have secured the scrum-half shirt with an impressive two-try display in Saturday's battling second Test loss in Johannesburg but it has since emerged the 22-year-old suffered a shoulder injury in the game.

While that puts Lee Dickson - a substitute in the first two Test defeats - in the frame to start the third match of the series in Port Elizabeth next week, it also clears the way for Care to resurrect his international career.

The 25-year-old, who has 32 caps, missed last year's World Cup through injury and was then dropped for the RBS 6 Nations by head coach Stuart Lancaster after a series of off-field incidents.

Care responded by finishing the domestic season strongly and then impressed for an England XV in last week's tour victory over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley. It now seems he has paid his dues but Lancaster has made clear he has had to earn his chance.

Lancaster said: "It won't be any disruption. Both Danny and Lee know the game plans. I didn't need any get-out clause to make any selection decisions - it gives us an opportunity to look at Lee and Danny."

Youngs' injury is a bitter blow after he responded to criticism of his performance in the first Test loss in Durban in impressive fashion. His two opportunistic tries and general play were key factors as England fought back from 28-10 down to within four points at Coca-Cola Park, only to ultimately go down 36-27.

Lancaster was unable to confirm the extent of the injury or length of any possible lay-off, but said: "From our point of view he was excellent for us in the second Test, he really played well and he is devastated."

Youngs will be replaced in the squad by Harlequins' Karl Dickson, brother of Lee, who had been on holiday. Lancaster said: "Karl was somewhere in Spain but we have managed to get him to Heathrow and he is on his way now."

Karl Dickson was flying in overnight and will go straight into contention for Tuesday's game against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom, the team for which will be announced later.