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Care bares his soul
Danny Care is determined to repay the faith of those who stuck by him during a troubled season and inspire Harlequins to their first Aviva Premiership title.
Care has spoken ahead of Saturday's final against Leicester of how the secret hurt of missing the Rugby World Cup led to him losing sight of what really mattered to him. The Harlequins scrum-half was thrown out of the England squad after he was stopped for drink-driving in the early hours of New Year's Day.
The 25-year-old gave up alcohol and returned to the England squad for the summer tour of South Africa and he is now desperate to atone for his conduct over the last six months. He said: "I owe a lot of people a big performance on Saturday."
He added: "I have learned a lot of hard lessons. To be thrown out of the England squad is the worst thing you could ever have happen to you as a player.
"I think I have learned a lot and grown up a bit. My main focus has shifted back to what I do best, which is playing rugby. I am a professional rugby player and very fortunate to be in the position I am in. I think I took that for granted and took my eye off the ball.
"The injury before the World Cup probably hit me harder than I had anticipated. The hurt of not going to that World Cup was hard to take.
"That is when a few things in my personal life took over, rather than me focusing on rugby. The stuff off the field was something I needed to change. I probably didn't realise that until the second or third time (I was arrested).
"It took me a while to realise that I am a professional rugby player, I am probably a role model to a few people and I needed to sort my life out. I took a long hard look in the mirror and did that.
"I have knuckled down and I am really loving playing again. There was a time when I wasn't really enjoying it - missing the Six Nations was heartbreaking but it was my own doing.
"It has been a tough few months but there is definitely that light at the end of the tunnel - and hopefully winning the Premiership on Saturday is that light. It's a massive game for me and the club."