sport

Care 'loses fitness race'

England scrum-half Danny Care has been ruled out of Saturday's first Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

Care will miss the series opener at Eden Park after picking up a shoulder injury in a comical fall while attempting a grubber kick during practice on Monday.

The Harlequins No 9's absence sees Ben Youngs promoted from the bench with Lee Dickson, who has only recently arrived in New Zealand after helping Northampton to the Aviva Premiership title, providing cover.

"It was Danny's own fault actually. It was a rubbish kick," England assistant coach Andy Farrell said.

Hilarious

"He stubbed his foot on the floor and missed the ball completely. He fell over and hurt his shoulder.

"It was absolutely hilarious. I burst out laughing but then realised it wasn't too funny.

"It was a little grubber through on the floor, which he miskicked. He won't be doing it again!

"I've got it on tape. I showed it to all the lads the next day - it was hilarious.

"But it wasn't quite as good two days later when he wasn't playing in the Test match. Anyway, we'll get over it."

Although Care remains in contention for the second Test in Dunedin, it is the latest selection headache for Stuart Lancaster.

Having already seen his Northampton and Saracens contingent ruled out due to the scheduling clash with the Premiership final, Lancaster saw Billy Twelvetrees ruled out earlier in the week.

That means England will go in to the first Test against the world champions with a weakened squad.

Confident

Care has been one of the team's star performers this season, acting as the catalyst for England's improved attacking game, and Farrell accepts his loss will be felt acutely.

"Danny's been in great form, not just throughout the Six Nations when he was outstanding, but he finished the season really well at Harlequins," Farrell said.

"In general he was in very confident mood coming over here and was looking forward to the tour.

"It was something and nothing really how it happened. That's the game.

"Lee has slotted in pretty well. His jet lag has been a very smooth transition. He seems fine and is very chirpy."