By Neale Harvey
Eddie Jones’s decision to rest livewire scrum-half Danny Care this summer will reap huge payback for club and country, according to new Harlequins coach Alex Codling.
Veteran campaigner Care was denied the chance to add to his 81 caps after being stood down for the South Africa tour, and also missed last week’s Red Rose training camp.
However, forwards guru Codling reckons the 31-year-old pivot is now on a mission after a gruelling pre-season in which the Yorkshireman has led from the front.
Codling told The Rugby Paper: “It’s the first proper pre-season Danny’s had at Harlequins in years and his attitude and application has been absolutely first-class.
“The sessions have been incredibly intense and challenging but he’s really led the way and epitomised how the boys have trained since Paul Gustard took over the reins. He’s a man on a mission; he’s a class player and you can see that in every session he does.
“He’s been rested by Eddie over the summer but it’s paying dividends now because he’s looking so fit and hungry, which is great news for us, and for England.”
Codling, meanwhile, says he is delighted with the response of the players as he looks to ignite the Harlequins pack following his recent arrival from Ealing.
He said: “I’ve inherited a group of forwards who are very keen to learn and having been here five or six weeks now, I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen.
“The set-piece is such a pivotal part of the game in terms of getting us on the front foot, so both myself and (scrum coach) Adam Jones are looking at it from two fronts: the individual and technical aspect and then the collective detail which is so important to us.
“I’m hugely passionate about what I do and very energetic, so I always try to bring those two things wherever I’ve been and the response I’ve had is outstanding.”
Former England lock Codling, 44, is delighted to be back at his old club, teaming up with head of rugby Gustard.
He said: “Quins is a club with a huge amount of history and I probably had my best playing days at the Stoop, also playing for England during my time here.
“I loved playing here and the opportunity to work with Paul, Adam, Mark Mapletoft and Nick Evans has been everything I’d hoped it would be so far.
“We want a strong set-piece, no question, and we’re doing everything we can to develop that.”
With heavyweight enforcer Matt Symons back in training again after a long injury lay-off, Codling added: “He came into the group recently and his application along with the rest of the squad has been brilliant.
“The boys have really enjoyed the sessions and we have had a few laughs along the way.”
By Neale Harvey