Care now back on track
Scrum-half Danny Care admits the "hard blow" of missing out on England's RBS Six Nations campaign helped him refocus his life.
Last Updated: 21/06/12 6:01pm
Danny Care admits missing out on the RBS Six Nations was "probably a good thing" as he prepares to make his England return on Saturday.
The scrum-half will make his first Test appearance for nearly a year when he starts in the third and final Test against South Africa.
Care was dropped by England head coach Stuart Lancaster for this year's Six Nations after a series of alcohol-related off-field incidents and warned that he must change his ways if he was to add to his 32 caps.
It appears the message hit home as the Harlequins number nine helped his club claim the Aviva Premiership title in an impressive finish to the campaign.
"Missing the Six Nations was a hard blow to take but, looking back, it made me refocus my life and my career a bit," Care said.
"It was probably a good thing to realise what I was missing.
"It seems like a long time ago now - I was obviously going through a tough time and I didn't realise at the time how bad it was.
"I will look back and in a way be glad of what happened. It refocused me and made me realise what it is to be a professional rugby player and what an honour it is to represent your country.
"I definitely took that for granted and that is certainly something I will never do again.
"It has given me the motivation to play well and prove a lot of people wrong and prove a lot of people, who stood by me, right."
Care boosted his hopes of a recall with an influential display in last week's midweek tour win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley.
And after being overlooked for the first two Tests in Durban and Johannesburg, the 25-year-old will finally get his chance in the Test side in place of the injured Ben Youngs.
Care said: "I was gutted for Youngsy. We get on well.
"He played well in the last Test, scoring two tries, but injuries are part and parcel of the game, especially against a team like South Africa.
"It is unfortunate for him but it is a chance for me to get back in there and show what I can do."
As well as Youngs, Lancaster is also without skipper Chris Robshaw for the match in Port Elizabeth.
Full-back Alex Goode and number eight Thomas Waldrom come in for their first Test starts while Alex Corbisiero is recalled to the front row in place of Joe Marler.
Lock Tom Palmer comes in for Mouritz Botha while centre Brad Barritt, who needed stitches in his eyeball after the first Test, is back among the replacements. Hooker Dylan Hartley takes over as captain.