sport news CHRIS FOY: Danny Care could be in with a shout of a Lions call-up after Ben ...

The stars could be aligning for Danny Care to become a Lion at the tail end of his career. He should be picked to tour South Africa now Ben Youngs has ruled himself out.

First, it is only right to salute Youngs for putting his family first, just as he did in 2017. Of course, the England scrum-half would wish to have the honour of joining the rest of Britain and Ireland's finest in South Africa, but with another child on the way he decided that some things are more important.

When news broke on MailOnline that Youngs had decided to make himself unavailable — after being informed by letter that he was in contention — it prompted feverish debate about the Lions coaches' scrum-half selection conundrum.

The withdrawal of Ben Youngs from Lions selection has opened the door for Danny Care

The withdrawal of Ben Youngs from Lions selection has opened the door for Danny Care

Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer

Youngs spoke to MailOnline about the decision to put family ahead of rugby this summer

Youngs spoke to MailOnline about the decision to put family ahead of rugby this summer

It was also the most notable development on a weekend of final auditions before the 36-man squad is announced on Thursday.

Care deserves to be chosen as someone in prime form, which cannot be said about all the men who will make the cut — with several set to be included on reputation.

The 34-year-old has played 84 Tests so he is no untried 'bolter'. He has vast experience and won't be fazed in such exalted company.

The fact that he has long been out of favour with England coach Eddie Jones shouldn't put Gatland off and he may relish the chance to prove that Care can still thrive at international level. He has been superb for Quins and one notable aspect of his performances has been enhanced game-management allied to a shrewd kicking game.

Care is offering control as well as attacking tempo.

Care has demonstrated his quality at Harlequins - but he is currently out of favour with England

Care has demonstrated his quality at Harlequins - but he is currently out of favour with England

Conor Murray is the standout No 9 as Gareth Davies and Care could contest a spot on the plane

Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer

Conor Murray is the standout No 9 as Gareth Davies and Care could contest a spot on the plane

Finn Russell would be an exciting pick ahead of Johnny Sexton - but may be deemed too risky

Finn Russell would be an exciting pick ahead of Johnny Sexton - but may be deemed too risky

Conor Murray is destined to wear the Lions' No 9 shirt against South Africa in the Test series. There are likely to be two other scrum-halves among the 36 and Scotland's Ali Price was erratic during the Six Nations, so Care could compete with Gareth Davies to understudy Murray.

MY LIONS TEAM 

Back three: J Adams (Wal), S Hogg (Sco), J Nowell (Eng), L Rees-Zammit (Wal), A Watson (England), L Williams (Wal).

Centres: J Davies (Wal), O Farrell (Eng), R Henshaw (Ire), G Ringrose (Ire), M Tuilagi (Eng).

Half-backs: D Biggar (Wal), D Care (Eng), G Davies (Wal), C Murray (Ire), F Russell (Sco).

Props: T Furlong (Ire), W Jones (Wales), J Marler (Eng), A Porter (Ire), K Sinckler (Eng), R Sutherland (Sco).

Hookers: L Cowan-Dickie (Eng), J George (Eng), K Owens (Wal).

Locks: J Gray (Sco), I Henderson (Ire), M Itoje (Eng), AW Jones (Wal, Captain).

Back row: T Beirne (Ire), T Curry (Eng), T Faletau (Wal), S Simmonds (Eng), J Tipuric (Wal), S Underhill (Eng),  H Watson (Sco). 

Advertisement

This column is about a wish-list, not trying to predict what Gatland and Co will actually do.

So let Finn Russell take a playmaker place ahead of Johnny Sexton, as the Irish icon is struggling to stay fit these days and would be mercilessly targeted by South African provincial sides ahead of the Test series.

Russell could offer a different dimension to Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell, but the coaches may well consider him too great a risk.

The expected confirmation of Alun Wyn Jones as tour captain makes sense. The imperious Welshman remains capable of dictating terms on the grandest occasions.

Maro Itoje is the only viable alternative but England took lineout calling duties off him during the Six Nations to help him focus on dominating as a player and that is what he should do for the Lions.

George North's cruel injury setback could have a profound impact on Gatland's backs selection as he has lost a figure capable of operating out wide or in midfield. His absence should justify the risk of including Manu Tuilagi to add

read more from dailymail.....

PREV sport news Chelsea are ready and raring to go ahead of the biggest game of their season ...
NEXT sport news Ryan Mason insists the Tottenham job is attractive to EVERY manager