The Rugby World Cup has provided some of the greatest rugby memories in the history books. We asked the England and Harlequins scrum-half for five moments that stand out...
Jonny makes history – 2003
“I have to start with Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal,” says Care. “It’s the ultimate memory for any English rugby fan, that right-footed drop-goal. The way they controlled the game at the end was incredible, with (Matt) Dawson sniping for an extra 20 metres, (Martin) Johnson getting into the perfect position and Jonny doing the rest. Our coach, Mike Catt, kicked the ball out at the end, and the whole team showed real composure.
“I was sat at home with my best mate and my dad. I was quite young back then, about 16, so we weren’t on the beers. We had a few bacon sandwiches though, and I just remember dreaming of playing for England myself one day.”
Injury and heartbreak – 2011
“The second memory that stands out in my mind is when I got injured and was ruled out of the 2011 tournament,” (Danny sustained a toe injury). “The squad had been picked, and I then got injured just two weeks before we were due to go to New Zealand. It was devastating.
“I did get to do some stuff with ITV, though, and so I got involved with the tournament and watched it closely as a fan. It was weird seeing the boys out there, having been so involved in the training camps, and it was hard to watch them play, especially because the lads didn’t do as well as they could’ve done. The off-field stuff didn’t go in their favour, either, but I still would’ve given anything to have been out there.”
France shock the All Blacks – 2007
“It was a pretty amazing win by France in Cardiff. New Zealand were tipped to go all the way, but a little bit of magic and some hard work saw France pull off an unbelievable result. It just shows how good France are on their day.
“That World Cup was during my first or second year down at Quins and I was just breaking into the first team. My mates, like Nick Easter, were there playing for England. It was pretty heartbreaking for them to lose in the final – they could’ve won the World Cup for a second consecutive time – but it wasn’t to be that year.”
Billy Whizz’s dancing feet – 2003
“Jason Robinson was the best finisher in the world at that time, and that try when he gets up and punches the ball set the tone for England.
“I’ve played against him a few times, and he was always a very difficult opponent. In my first year as a pro, when I was playing for Leeds, Jason broke the line, and though there were only a few metres either side of me and I didn’t lay a finger on him. The photo in the paper the following day was just that – him running past and me lying on the ground with ‘9 Care’ on my back in full view!”
Ben Kay’s butter fingers – 2003
“I’ll drop Ben Kay in it with my last one – when he dropped the ball over the line. It was an unbelievable moment, and one that everyone has had. But not many people have had it in a World Cup final!
“It’s always funny to watch a moment like that. You know everyone’s been there before, whether it’s in junior rugby, youth rugby, or playing for England. So you have an amount of sympathy – but you can still have a bit of a chuckle!”
Danny Care has been designing his ideal hotel guest room for Marriott Hotels, and you can see what he’s come up with at travelbrilliantly.co.uk/guestroom. You can vote for your favourite elements on the site – he’s up against four other designers – plus tell him what you think of his design by tweeting using #brilliantguestroom!