Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care has admitted that missing out on a place in England’s World Cup squad hurt more because Willi Heinz hails from New Zealand.
“I would be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little bit more,” Care told The Telegraph.
“It took me by surprise that they had gone for Willi. That’s not his fault.
England international @dannycare is joining our unrivalled Rugby World Cup team and will be contributing to The Telegraph throughout the tournament – read his first column: https://t.co/QiuRTVKZEn pic.twitter.com/E5lA6vuzBc— Telegraph Sport (@TelegraphSport) August 22, 2019
“I have got nothing against Willi. He is a nice guy. I’ve met him a few times, played against him a few times.
“I never knew he had aspirations to play for England. I never knew he could play for England.
“When he came into that Barbarians week, he took me back a bit because I didn’t know how long he had been in the country or that he had an English grandmother.
“It was interesting to see him there and then to get the call ahead of you … obviously it hurts.
“I think with people from other countries, I have probably never experienced it in my position before, when you see guys come in like Brad Shields, whether through the residency or the grandmother. I had never been pushed out because of someone from another country.
“I had probably been a bit naive to that and just accepted it happens to other people, felt sorry for them, but thought it would never happen to me. But then when it happens to you, it does sting. It really hurts.”