Danny Care sees advantages of hybrid contracts in English top flight

Danny Care is part of England’s World Cup squad (Mike Egerton/PA)
Danny Care is part of England’s World Cup squad (Mike Egerton/PA)

Danny Care believes hybrid contracts would be beneficial to English rugby if they succeed in keeping the nation’s stars in a financially viable Gallagher Premiership.

The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby are at an advanced stage of negotiations to introduce an arrangement that would give England head coach Steve Borthwick greater control over a reported 20 members of his squad.

Apart from allowing Borthwick a say in how a player is managed and conditioned while on Premiership duty, the watered down form of central contracts would help clubs retain their England internationals in the face of the higher wages on offer overseas.

Extending Twickenham’s influence in this way would be a significant adjustment to the way the club-country partnership has worked since professionalism was introduced in 1995 – and Care can see the advantages.

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick is the driving force behind the plan to establish hybrid contracts (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Is there one available for me?! Not sure I’ll see one!” scrum-half Care, 36, said from England’s World Cup camp in Le Touquet.

“We want to see English players playing in England, I’m definitely right in saying that.

“England need to have their best players in England and if there are ways that we can do it, which might help the club game and help the clubs be more sustainable, then I think the players would be on board with that. Hopefully that can be sorted.”

Borthwick is the driving force behind the plan to establish hybrid contracts as he looks to revive England’s fortunes.

Care insists elements of the plan that would form part of the new professional game agreement, such as joined up conditioning programmes and player development, began soon after he replaced Eddie Jones in December.

“Steve and the coaches are doing that already behind the scenes and they have been doing it since Steve took over the job,” Care said.

“If there was more structure to it that might help everyone but I know Steve is working hard behind the scenes to make sure the clubs are aligned and do the best thing for the players. The wheels are already in motion for that.”

The financial crisis gripping the English game has resulted in Wasps, Worcester and London Irish going out of business in the Premiership and Championship title holders Jersey Reds collapsing in the tier below.

While catastrophic for everyone directly affected, it has also presented the opportunity for the top flight to be restructured in a way that provides some benefits.

Danny Care
Danny Care plays for Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“With the club game going down to 10 teams it’s automatically going to be less games for the lads,” Care said.

“I’ve always pushed and been an advocate for Premiership games not to be played during the Six Nations window. Fans, clubs and everyone wants that.

“You want your best players playing and clubs want to have their best players available which helps everything in terms of TV revenue and fans coming to the stadium.

“Fans want to see Owen Farrell playing for Saracens as many times as he can. If there are ways and structures to do that, then I am all for them.

“I’ve said a few times that there are a lot clever, smarter people than me hopefully working on these decisions. Hopefully they get it right and the game in England can flourish.”