Courtney Lawes is ready to make the transformation from YouTube sensation to England talisman with Scotland set to feel the full force of the Northampton hitman in the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on February 24.
Lawes turns 29 the day before the Scotland match and with 63 England caps and two British and Irish Lions tests already to his credit, the hard tackling forward, whose destructive hits have been so popular on video sharing websites, is determined to join Owen Farrell as one of the team’s most important assets.
Lawes is currently operating at No 6 rather than in the second row and has accepted the challenge from head coach Eddie Jones to fill the ball carrying void created by injuries to Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes. Wasps No 8 Hughes is now fit again and could be included in the Scotland match squad.
If Hughes fails to convince Jones that he is ready for the third leg of England’s Grand Slam bid, Lawes will be happy to continue leading the way with the ball and as well as making those big tackles. Having helped repel Wales to secure a 12-6 win at Twickenham, Lawes has already set his sights on the Scots and said: “I now want to really kick on and become a talisman for this team and hopefully I can do that against the Scots.
48' ENG 12 – 3 WAL
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 10, 2018
“I feel good and believe I am playing solid rugby. I want to push on and get some really good form and I am getting some good ball in hand while defensively I have been making some solid tackles and my work rate is good.”
With the Scots regaining confidence thanks to a 32-26 home win against France, they are fancying a crack at England who are chasing a historic third successive Six Nations title and Lawes has a warning for the Auld Enemy; “We are not firing on all cylinders yet and still have a lot more to give as a team performance and to win against a confident Welsh side when you are not at your best is obviously a big positive.
“It is a sign of a good team that you can still win and I never felt against Wales that we were going to lose and we put pressure on them at the right time and took our opportunities in the first half and then defend like our lives depended on it and that really showed.
“We kept them out in terms of tries and that made the difference in the end.”
Lawes, who with rest of the England squad will be training against Georgia this week in London, is also hoping Scotland make the same tactical error as the Welsh and continually send high kicks towards Mike Brown who delivered a Man of the Match performance at Twickenham.
“We all work solidly on our basics and one of Brownie’s fundamentals that he has to get right is taking the high ball and he is one of the best in the World at it. We have supreme confidence that he is going to out there and win all the balls that he possibly can.
“I suppose the opposition have their own tactics and we just concentrate on what’s in front of us and if they want to kick to Brownie then he will take them all day.”
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) February 10, 2018