With the 2016 RBS Six Nations Championships imminent, Team England caught up with England rugby star Danny Care about the key part the Commonwealth Games played in his career.

Starting in 2004 at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, a young Care entered the international stage, leaving with a silver medal in what he describes as an ‘unforgettable’ experience.

“The Commonwealth Youth Games was amazing; it effectively gave me the chance to go away and compete with 12 of my best mates. We trained really hard but also had the chance to relax and explore Australia.”

Despite having narrowly lost to Australia in the Final, Care realised that the Commonwealth Youth Games has provided many athletes, like him, the chance to progress their careers. 

“Playing in the tournament was a massive experience and we had some great players in the team such as Ryan Lamb, Danny Cipriani and Jordan Turner-Hall who have gone onto great things in the sport.”

Care, who has represented England’s rugby union team on over 50 occasions recalls the pride he experienced at being able to be a part of Team England.

“It was huge to be able to represent England at the Commonwealth Games. We had the chance to mix in with all of the other athletes, many of whom were going through a similar path to us of just breaking through. At the Youth Games we were there with Jess Ennis-Hill – and she was of course very popular with the rugby lads – but it was brilliant to be able to mix in with all other athletes and find out about their training schedules” said Care, who goes on to discuss the uniqueness of Team England.

“Team England is very much so all inclusive and has some of England’s greatest athletes from 20 or 30 different sports and you are all mixed together to fight for one team. It’s very unique – you don’t get that often – and we really did feel a part of the wider team as you want to win medals for England, for your country.”

Being a part of England’s rugby union team for the last 10 years, Care has experienced his fair share of the infamous England V Australia rivalry, one which he experiences early in his career through the Commonwealth Games.

“It was amazing in 2006 to take on the Aussies in Melbourne. But any time that England play Australia, there is that added element of the rivalry and the bragging right until to play them again. The Aussies take it very seriously and brought in some of their top talent for the Commonwealth Games, showing how important not only the rivalry is, but the competition is to them.

“That rivalry is huge, and every time you play Australia there is no love lost, and I am sure that the guys that get to go to the Gold Coast 2018 Games will love the chance to take on the Aussies in their own back yard.”

Given the recent discussions about a potential English national anthem, and Care shared his thoughts.

“I love singing God Save The Queen but people’s argument is ‘why doesn’t England have its own one?’ – and you can’t really argue with that. It would be nice as Wales, Ireland and Scotland have their own ones but I love singing the anthem. So, whatever it is, I will sing it.

“Team England is unique; it moved away from God Save The Queen to Jerusalem and not everyone is going to be behind it but if you can please the majority, then great.”