Danny Care’s place in the Lions squad is far from assured, but the England and Harlequins scrum half has done his chances no harm with his recent displays in the Aviva Premiership.
Scoring two tries of his own whilst setting up another two, Care was pivotal in Harlequins 42-26 victory over Worcester, securing Quins’ place in the play-offs, with the side 4/1 to win the Grand Final in May.
However, in this year’s Six Nations, Care was second choice behind Leicester’s Ben Youngs with his only start coming against Italy.
With that game proving to be far more difficult for England than one might have expected, and England playing so well for the majority of the tournament with the Tigers man at number nine, Care found it difficult to lay a solid claim.
However, Care asserts that England boss Stuart Lancaster believed there was little to pick between him and Youngs, and if Warren Gatland is of the same opinion, he may opt for Care’s direct style.
The Harlequins man will also be buoyed by Gatland’s refusal to rule out the selection of Johnny Wilkinson, suggesting that form away from the international scene is just as important.
With Care performing so well in the Aviva Premiership this season, as evidenced by his nine tries – the third best in the league and the more than any other scrum half, he has reason to be optimistic.
Of course Care and Youngs will not be the only other scrum half vying for the number nine jersey.
Mike Philips looks a certainty to make the squad, having been ever present in Wales’ victorious Six Nations side.
He will also offer crucial experience having been a part of the 2009 Lions tour, in which he was one of only five players to play all three tests.
Whichever way Gatland decides to go, his selection at 9 will be pivotal to the Lions’ chances of securing a series they are currently 4/6 favourites to win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.