Rugby

Danny Care: Cookies and saunas the secret behind England longevity

The scrum-half is set to make his 99th international appearance in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

Danny Care will win his 99th cap against Scotland on Saturday
Danny Care will win his 99th cap against Scotland on Saturday Danny Care will win his 99th cap against Scotland on Saturday (Steven Paston/PA)

Danny Care has revealed the unconventional secret behind his career longevity as he closes in on becoming England’s sixth Test centurion – cookies and saunas.

Care will make his 99th international appearance in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland and even at 37-years-old the high-tempo Harlequins scrum-half is in the form of his life.

On top of showing the persistence needed to emerge from a three-and-a-half-year spell in England exile, he has taken his own approach to making sure he can perform at the highest level.


And unlike former Red Rose team-mate Jonny May, who is famed for his dedication to training and preparation, Care takes a more unorthodox route.

“I’m definitely not like Jonny May! I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum to Jonny May. More cookies. Cookies and saunas. And why not if it works? Everyone is so different,” Care said.

“I’ve always been quite lucky in that I’ve not been massively into nutrition or believe fully in it, which the nutritionists hate me for!

“I don’t think I’ve cracked it, but I’m 37 and I like to think I’ve shown an alternative way of doing it. Rather than all the protein and the supplements every day…

“I’ve definitely put a bigger emphasis on my recovery in the last few years but I feel better now than I did four or five years ago.

Even at 37-years-old Danny Care is one of the most dangerous scrum-halfs in the game
Even at 37-years-old Danny Care is one of the most dangerous scrum-halfs in the game Even at 37-years-old Danny Care is one of the most dangerous scrum-halfs in the game (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“The team hotel is also an amazing five-star spa, which helps. The sauna and the ice bath are our best friends.

“It’s amazing when you’ve got that on your doorstep and have the time to do it. When I’m at home I can’t just nip out for a couple of hours to ‘recover’, my wife would… well, she wouldn’t be my wife any more!

“But when you’re here and you’ve got the best S&C guys, nutritionists, everyone and it’s all for you. You can be selfish in that way and that helps me a lot.”

Care refuses to put a timeframe on his retirement but knows this will almost certainly be his final visit to Murrayfield and is hoping to have clarity on his club future after the Six Nations.

He was among those dropped by Eddie Jones after the ‘black hole game’ against Japan in 2018, so called because the dismal performance spelt the end of several Test careers.

But having compelled Jones to reconsider on the basis of his swashbuckling form for Harlequins, he continues to be an important part of the England set-up under Steve Borthwick.

“I feel more liberated, I feel more free, I feel like I can just enjoy it. You never know which one is going to be the last one so in a way that gives me freedom to just be myself and really enjoy it,” Care said.

“That’s something that is hard to do when you play for England because you’re constantly on the edge of being judged and want to do well and stay in.

“There are also so many other lads who people think should be playing instead of you, but I don’t care about any of that any more, which is nice.”