England scrumhalf Danny Care believes he is in the best form of his career and feels the “pain and hurt” of last season’s defeat in Cardiff can drive them to the Triple Crown.
The Harlequins man scooted over for his sixth international try in the 13-10 win over Ireland, rounding off a flowing move involving domestic teammates Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown in the 56th minute for what was perhaps the most important score of his 45-Test career.
This capped another intense and punchy game from the 27-year-old, who judiciously manoeuvred his forwards around the pitch and intelligently blended accurate distribution with potent carrying around the fringes.
The resurgent No.9 was third-choice scrum half during last November’s internationals behind Lee Dickson and Ben Youngs, but is now buoyed by the faith in him shown by the England set-up.
“I’m loving every minute at the moment,” said Care, who also delivered the scoring pass for Luther Burrell’s opening try in the victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. “It’s going really well and it’s great to have the coaches trust and have confidence in me. It’s great to repay a bit of the faith they have in me.
“There was a lot of excitement going over for that try. I can’t hide my emotions at times, I was really happy to go over. I think I owe Mike one for sorting me out with the pass but it was just brilliant to score at Twickenham, that’s definitely the favourite try of my career.”
Wales are the next visitors to Twickenham next Sunday, with a first Triple Crown since 2003 dangling as motivation. Not that extra incentive is required for England after the distress of the record 3-30 defeat when chasing the Grand Slam at the Millennium Stadium this time last year.
The Twickenham crowd was in fine voice during the nerve-shredding win over Joe Schmidt’s side at the weekend and Care believes home advantage can make the difference once again.
“There is definitely a feeling that we owe Wales one, last year was heart-breaking,” he said. “We’ll use a bit of that pain and that anger. But if we focus on ourselves and we play our own game we know we can be a match for anyone.
“It would be huge to win the Triple Crown. Obviously Wales played really well against France, they’ve bounced back to some good form. We know England against Wales is such a big game and we’ll hopefully use that Twickenham factor.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to play back at Twickenham. From the first moment we walked through the gates the fans were on our side. They were so loud and drove us through for that victory.”
As England recover and prepare at Pennyhill Park, Care concluded by paying tribute to the dynamic, relentless pack of forwards he is playing behind.
Highlighting the impact of Dave Attwood – nine tackles, nine rucks, three scrums and a turnover in 11 minutes off the bench – in closing out the win, Care said the whole 23-man squad bought into the game plan.
“The pack was outstanding, we knew Ireland would come with some real physical threats over the ball and try and slow it down but I thought we reacted and dealt with it quite well.
“The pack worked so tirelessly the whole game and you saw second rows chasing down wings at the end in the wide channels. I thought Dave Attwood came on and was outstanding. Everyone bought into what we were trying to do for the win.”