NEC Harlequins Danny Care, along with club colleagues Sebastian Jewell and Adam Thompstone have spent the last week trying to outwit England's senior stars during a weeks training camp at the University of Bath ahead of the start of the Six Nations Championship this weekend. The 20 year-old scrum half and his team-mates have been anything but tackle bag holders at the training base and have played a valuable part in helping the World Champions prepare for Saturday's (3rd February) Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.
It has also given the stars of the future an invaluable opportunity to hone their skills in preparation for their own Scottish challenge, which takes place at the Recreation Ground, Bath tomorrow night (2nd February), kick-off 7.30pm.
Care, who spent Tuesday on the attack and part of Wednesday pitting his 5ft 9in, 12st 2lbs frame against the likes of England second row Louis Deacon, says the sessions have been a real boost to Nigel Redman's side and stands the Under 20's in good stead to face Scotland.
"It's been awesome. You look around and see people like Jonny Wilkinson and Phil Vickery - I think we did well as a team against them in attack on Tuesday and I think we did well in defence yesterday so that's definitely something that can help us tomorrow," said Care. "It was really good experience to come up against them - you learn so much from them and you aspire to be like them."
Care can complete a hat-trick of victories over Scotland in three different age groups in less than 12 months. He has already tasted success for the Under 19s; a thumping 36-5 victory at his new home the Twickenham Stoop last February in which he scored two tries, as well as being an unused replacement in the 31-12 win for the Under 21s in last June's World Championship.
Now he gets a crack at Under 20s level after the Rugby Football Union, along with the other Home Unions, switched from Under 21s, with France and Italy due to follow suit in 2008 in an Under 20s Six Nations Championship.
"I am really excited, especially to captain the side. It's a really big honour and just can't wait for it now. There is pressure on us to perform and the main thing we can do is to go out and show people what we can do."
Care is joined by Quins team-mates Sebastian Jewell and Adam Thompstone in the England Under 20 squad. Fly half Jewell and centre / wing Thompstone gain their first international honours with their inclusion in the squad to face Scotland and Care is confident that his team can develop through these fixtures.
England follow their opener against Scotland by playing Italy Under 21s, again at the Recreation Ground (9th February), Ireland Under 20s in Athlone (23rd February), France Under 21s at Northampton (9th March) and Wales Under 20s at Newport (16th March).
"First of all we have to concentrate on Scotland and try and get the victory and the performance that we want so we can build for the Italy game. There is a lot of young talent coming through these days and guys are younger than me. I always used to be one of the youngest but now I am one of the oldest so I've got to try and get my experienced head on. The skill levels of some of the guys coming through is awesome and they are going to be pushing for places."
The full England Under 20s squad is as follows:
Dave Attwood (Bristol Rugby)
Charlie Beech (Northampton Saints)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Matt Cox (Worcester Warriors)
Hugo Ellis (London Wasps)
Jack Forster (Gloucester Rugby)
Phil Hoy (Northampton Saints)
Ross McMillan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Chevvy Pennycook (Bristol Rugby)
Alex Shaw (Leicester Tigers)
David Tait (Sale Sharks)
Danny Care (NEC Harlequins)
Daniel Cipriani (London Wasps)
Ollie Dodge (Leicester Tigers)
David Doherty (London Wasps)
Charlie Gower (London Irish) Sebastian Jewel (NEC Harlequins)
Selorm Kuadey (Sale Sharks)
Frankie Neal (Saracens)
Tom Parker (London Irish)
Adam Powell (Saracens) Adam Thompstone (NEC Harlequins)
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.