As the season gears up to its explosive end and the sun starts to peek out behind the blossom, our Lauren went down to Surrey Sports Park in the blazing sunshine to chat to Harlequins and England scrum half Danny Care about the Six Nations, Munster and which film still makes him tear up a bit…
How’s the mood in camp at the moment?
It’s good, it’s really good. Everyone’s looking forward to a big game against Bath at the weekend and we were really happy to beat Wasps last weekend. We were a bit disappointed about our performance in the second half so hopefully we can get another win and kick on for the rest of the season.
Excellent, so are you excited, looking forward to Munster in the Amlin Challenge Cup Semi Final?
Yeah, that’ll be awesome playing at Thomond Park with a load of screaming Irish fans! It’ll be one of the biggest games in the club’s history for a long time so we’re really looking forward to that.
It can be quite scary there with the home fans…
Yeah, I think it’ll definitely be an experience; we’re really looking forward to it. We didn’t really mind whether we got Munster or Brive but I think Munster away will be even more special.
How’s your season been so far?
Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it, it’s had some ups and downs, obviously it was great to win the Six Nations Championship with England, but you know to lose in that last Grand Slam decider was obviously disappointing. I’m happy with how I’ve played and it’s great to be back in a Quins shirt at the moment and playing hopefully some good rugby.
Obviously I’m chuffed that we won [the Six Nations], it was a bittersweet moment getting that trophy and getting that medal when we’d obviously lost the game with Ireland, but I think overall, over the five games we were the best team in the tournament and I think we deserved it.
Do you feel the Aviva Premiership play-offs are still achievable for Harlequins at this point?
No, I think it’s pretty much gone for us now. All we can do is aim as high as we can and hopefully get that top six for the Heineken Cup next year
What have been your personal highlights this year?
[John Andress happens by] Playing with John Andress
Obviously, playing with John Andress is always a big highlight for me, but I think with Quins, winning against Northampton away, we went down to 13 men and somehow still won, so that was brilliant. And I got a little try in that game which was nice, and obviously winning the Six Nations.
Are you trying to build momentum towards getting to the World Cup?
Yeah, I think it’s on everyone’s mind, you know, anyone who’s got a chance of playing for their country, and you want to play well in these last few games for your club, it’s sort of the last chance you’ve got to prove to the selectors that you should be playing. So hopefully I can keep playing well and get in their heads!
Do you have a healthy competition with Ben Youngs?
Yeah it is yeah, it’s a good rivalry, we get on really well with each other and help each other out when we can at England camp and it’s great to come up against each other when we get to play against Leicester.
If the rules about England selection weren’t an issue would you consider playing abroad or is your heart at Quins?
Obviously my heart’s at Quins at the moment, I’ve just signed for another two years after this one so I’m here for the foreseeable future. I think if the weather was like this nobody would want to leave but it’s not always like this. I think it’s something I’d love to do at some point in my career but not just yet.
What would be your perfect day off?
[John Kingston] Never stops does it… you talking rubbish…
I think round going to John Kingston’s house, and then playing golf with him and then gambling with him all day
If you were stranded on a desert Island with two Quins, who would they be?
I’d take Jordy – Jordan Turner Hall – and I’d take Ugo Monye as well.
Why would you pick those two?
We’re inseparable really so wherever we’d go, we’d have to go together and I’m sure we’d have a good laugh anyway.
What’s the whole Quietly thing all about?
It’s a silly thing, really, it’s basically… if you do something that’s good, or you think something’s good you say Quietly as in…. [does a sort of lowering hands mime] Quietly. So if someone scores a good try, you go up to them quietly and go [mimes again] “quietly”. It’s silly really. It’s to reward a good thing. And it can be used in all contexts.
Danny and Partner in Crime Ugo Monye illustrate their quietness
Where did it come from?
It’s been passed down… I think Chris Malone might have started it, an Aussie guy who used to play at Quins but plays at London Irish now, he had a lot of dodgy phrases I think he might have given us that and it’s caught on.
So, playing under the shadow of Twickenham, when you first moved to Quins did you find it intimidating or inspirational?
Yeah it was quite inspiring really. I mean being from Leeds I’d ever really been down to The Stoop before, I think once when I was playing for Leeds Academy when I was 17, but the ground was completely different then. It’s great to be close to the home of rugby and you know, we’re very proud to be a London club. I think we’re the only proper London club.
Who’s the best or worst room mate when you’re away?
The *worst* room mate would have to be Nick Easter. He smells, quite a lot, he’s just a big man. The best way to describe him would be a big man, a proper man so he does everything a proper man would do.
The best room mate… I’d have to say I am the best room mate, I always bring sweets
Not that you’re bigging yourself up or anything…?
I always bring sweets and great chat!
Do you have a pre-match ritual? Any songs or anything to get you prepared?
Not really. There are always some songs on the sound system in the changing rom. I like to be quite relaxed before a game, just chill out not really have to think about it before I have to run out and play so I like to go in with a chilled sense.
No pre-match treat?
Not really, I’m quite random with what I eat… but if I play well in a certain pair of boots I won’t wash them I’ll wear them again exactly the way they were when finished maybe wear a lucky pair of boxers before the game if I’ve played well in them the week before
What’s your favourite book?
You know what I haven’t read a book in a long time, which is bad, and my mum always gets on at me about it. I‘ve recently bought Chris Evans’ autobiography (Memoirs of a Fruitcake) , which was recommended to me.
Anything really, anything from Westlife to 50 Cent
Yeah… I like a bit of everything!
Home Alone Home Alone. Every Christmas time.
Do you still cry?
On the Playstation it would be FIFA 11
What’s your best tour moment so far?
Probably when we beat Australia last summer. I was on the bench for the first half so it was a bit frustrating, but it was great to win out there.
Actually, the best moment was going shark diving in Australia. We went in this massive aquarium with loads of sharks and stuff and a tortoise came into the testing pool before we got in. They told us if anything comes in to not be scared, to just stay still but this tortoise came into the cage and Ugo just jumped out of the pool! I’ve never seen him move that quick before in my life!
Do you get a lot of stick for being Northern down here?
Yeah I do, a fair bit. Used to have David Strettle down here and that helped me but since he’s gone I think there’s only really me and Tom Castle, who’s a Manchester lad, so me and him get quite a lot of stick.
North/South divide in the changing room?
Yeah, there is, there is…
Who’s your rugby hero?
Growing up I really liked watching Justin Marshall play. I was really lucky as I got a chance to work with him when he signed for Leeds, and it was my first year out of school so I learned from him and he was the best scrum half in the world so it was brilliant for me to learn off him. Matt Dawson, I used to love watching him so I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of good scrum halves.
[Olly Kohn walks by] Olly Kohn, the big second rower, 20 stone Olly Kohn. He’s one of my idols in rugby. I admire him. His shelf, in particular, I’m a big fan of.
Olly Barkley recently spoke out about how nice it would be if rugby moved to the summer, which it kind of feels like today, what are your thoughts on that?
I would be all for that, definitely! No one wants to see people playing against Newcastle away when it’s tipping it down with rain or snow in December, we want to play in the summer. Everyone wants to see tries; no-one wants to see boring games. I’d definitely change it to the summer if I could!
Campaign starts here then!
Burning questions asked by Lauren, Photo from Zimbio, Thanks to Sarah at Quins
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