Danny Care has welcomed the trust shown by Eddie Jones in giving his England players permission to drink.
Jones has told his squad they can “have two pints, but that doesn’t mean have 15 pints” during planned “relaxing nights” to enable them to bond ahead of Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland.
It marks a significant departure from the previous England regime, which kept players on a tight leash in response to the off-field excesses witnessed during the 2011 World Cup.
“We’ve had a couple of nights where we have gone out for dinner as big groups and a night going out in smaller groups in order to get to know each other a bit better,” Care said.
“We have had a couple of beers, we have been trusted to do that which has been very nice.
“When it is a new squad coming together, you have got to get to know each other and Eddie is very keen we do that on and off the pitch.
“As backs we went out and had a couple of beers and the forwards did the same in a different bar, so we kept away from the big lads! Little things like that are new and different.
“We’ve not paid for too many drinks ourselves yet, which is nice and we’re going out tonight. I’ve got the RFU’s cash here!”
When asked if it was a departure from the rules in place over the last four years, Care said: “Maybe it’s a little bit different.
“We had out moments, but there was a time and a place for it. With a new coach coming in, you have to break down these barriers.
“You’re knocking lumps out of each other with your clubs and you need to work out a style that’s best for England.”
Care had fallen out of favour in the build up to last autumn’s World Cup but the Harlequins scrum-half is set to start ahead of Ben Youngs when Jones names his starting XV to face Scotland tomorrow.
“When I first spoke to Eddie a few weeks ago, he said I’ve been playing well and told me to keep doing my stuff,” Care said.
“With two scrum-halves, it gives you the confidence that he rates you. Me and Ben have battled it out for a few years and hopefully there are a few more years to come.
“He wants the nine to be a running, attacking threat. We want to play quickly so he’s getting us fit.
“Ben and I have been on the bike doing a few extras. That’s the way the game’s going.
“We want to run teams around and have dominance up front but, to get the ball to the danger men out wide, you need a nine who can get to the breakdown and get the ball away.”
Meanwhile, Jonny Wilkinson insists England cannot expect a quick-fix under Jones.
England are seeking to climb back to the sport’s top tier after failing to progress from the group stage of last autumn’s World Cup and Wilkinson insists that alongside France, who also have a new coach in Guy Noves, they will need to show patience.
“It is such a tough balance to strike because both these nations have been used to strong international teams and both quite rightly expect good results,” said Wilkinson.
“High-level rugby teams with lasting quality are built from the bottom up, however, and this cannot be done in a few weeks and a harsh conversation or two.
“The first run out is often not the most challenging because the excitement, energy and desire to prove yourself can combine to make something extraordinary.
“It is the rest of the tournament and beyond where good coaching, man management and preparation will be tested.
“Both of these teams will come out firing, it is a case of 100% or not at all at this level which means committing fully to every decision and ultimately trusting your plan, your team and yourself.”
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