Danny Care followed up his electric form for Harlequins with a convincing pitch to Eddie Jones that has resulted in his recall for Sunday’s uncapped match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
Nearly four years after making the last of his 84 Test appearances, the 35-year-old is poised to make his comeback off the bench as scrum-half back up to Harry Randall.
Care has been an influential figure in Quins’ resurgence over the last two seasons and is among the Premiership’s most creative players, but a disagreement with Jones after a victory over Japan in 2018 appeared to have ended his international career.
Tearing up defences kept him on Jones’ radar, however, and when the two met in April he convinced England’s head coach that he was worth another shot.
“Danny has great desire. After a game recently I texted him to say ‘well played’ as I thought he played really well. He came back and said he’d love to catch up,” Jones said.
“We had a coffee and he was very adamant on how keen he was to play for England. Then you get a bit more interested. We’ve been watching him carefully and felt he deserved another opportunity.”
Care has produced more try assists than any other Premiership player for the last two seasons and Jones believes his high-tempo style makes him an asset at a time when the sport has become faster.
“The game has changed and the ruck speed suits him,” said Jones, who declined to say if Care was under consideration to tour Australia next month.
A potent weapon in Quins’ arsenal has been Care’s half-back combination with Marcus Smith, but Jones insists there are still shortcomings in their partnership.
“They need to develop it. I’ve had a word with them. They need to get tighter. They need to feed off each other better. There’s huge scope for improvement,” he said.
Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga return to the wings after seeing their opportunities this season limited by spells in rehabilitation.
May sat out the Six Nations following a knee operation while Cokanasiga has not played for England since suffering his second major knee injury in pre-season.
Although very different wings, they are united by having a point to prove to Jones who on Monday names his squad for the three Test series against the Wallabies.
“Jonny’s been fantastic. One of those older experienced players, he’s still got plenty left in him. He’s got another at least five per cent growth in him,” Jones said.
“We’ll see on Sunday if he’s ready for Australia. That’s the beauty of Sunday’s game. He hasn’t played for a long time.
“It wouldn’t matter if the game was being played on Mars, if Joe was playing well he’d be useful.”
London Irish’s 19-year-old sensation Henry Arundell was ruled out of the match by an unspecified injury, while Jones revealed that former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen made a social visit to England’s camp.