Quins hope to take Care of Danny for Castres return
Harlequins scrum half Danny Care will return to action for his club’s Champions Cup game against Castres, a match the London-based outfit are strongly odds-on with Coral at 1/7 to win.
New first-time father Care, who seems to have shelved his wild image, has outstanding odds of 15/8 to cross the whitewash anytime, said ahead of the match: “There has been a long growing-up period but all that has gone on has made me what I am today.
“I have had to be more focused, more driven and more aware of what it takes to get right to the very top. I did need a kick up the backside. I thought I was playing OK but I wasn’t. You need someone to point out that you’re not playing as well as you think you are. You need to be aware of every bit of your game. I have come to realise that.
“You just can’t afford to have a bad game these days, even an average one. I did have to work on my game. There was more kicking to be done, or to be done at the right time and in the right place. More importantly, the England coaches wanted me to take more of a lead and I have tried to do that.”
Speaking about the threat of the French side, who are 9/2 to cause an upset, Care continued: “[Rory] Kockott has been brilliant for Castres and even though they’ve also had a bit of a patchy season so far, they were French Top 14 champions two years ago, finalists last season again, taking Clermont’s five-year unbeaten record at home in the play-offs. Castres are dangerous.”
The aforementioned Kockott has odds of 8/1 to put five points on the board anytime, while Max Evans could be their best hope, priced at 7/2 in the same market.
Meanwhile, Quins’ England skipper, Chris Robshaw, who is 7/1 to score anytime, said: “There are no margins for error. One home defeat could be the end of your chances of reaching the quarter-final.
“We got caught cold in our opening game by the Scarlets last season and suffered as a result. What we’ve got to do on Friday night is be more precise and get our game going from the start. We always thrive off the support of the crowd and they will have an important part to play on Friday night against a tough team.
“Castres may not have made the greatest of starts in the Top 14 this season but they still have a host of quality players,” continued the 28-year-old. “They will be looking at Europe as the chance to make a fresh start and we will certainly be paying them all the respect they deserve.
“But we also know it is no good concentrating on them, we’ve got to get our game right and be more precise in all we do.”