Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

'Not a good enough wordsmith' Dowson pays tribute to Courtney Lawes

By PA
Northampton's Courtney Lawes (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton boss Phil Dowson has hailed Courtney Lawes’ ability to evolve with the game ahead of his final home match as a Saints player. Lawes will bid farewell to Franklin’s Gardens on Friday when Northampton tackle Gallagher Premiership play-off opponents Saracens.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 35-year-old has made more than 280 first-team appearances since being handed his club debut in a National League One fixture against Esher 17 years ago.

Flanker Lawes grew up barely a stone’s throw away from the Gardens, and he will depart for French club Brive this summer as arguably Saints’ greatest player.

Video Spacer

How would Super Rugby teams fare in the Champions Cup? | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

Video Spacer

How would Super Rugby teams fare in the Champions Cup? | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

He also won 105 England caps – only Ben Youngs, Jason Leonard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell have more – and toured twice with the British and Irish Lions.

“I am probably not a good enough wordsmith to do it [Lawes’ Northampton legacy] justice,” said Dowson, who highlighted Lawes’ mentoring work with Northampton’s academy players among his many qualities.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
22 - 20
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

“We have managed Courtney from a training-load point of view, but as soon as you drop him into something competitive, we know he will be able to turn it on. You can see his skill level and his ability to evolve with the game.

“The game changes every year. It is almost unrecognisable from when I was playing. How many players go from back row to second row when they slow down? He is going the other way. He will be playing in the centre at Brive!”

ADVERTISEMENT

Northampton last reached the Premiership final in 2014 – Lawes started and Dowson was among the replacements – when prop Alex Waller’s dramatic late try in extra-time saw them crowned champions courtesy of a 24-20 victory over Saracens.

But Saints are in prime shape for a Twickenham return, having topped the Premiership’s regular season table and beaten Saracens home and away. Dowson added: “The fact we are here is pretty special.

“It has been a while since we have been at home for a semi-final, and there are players leaving at the end of the season who have had a huge impact on our club.

“We have talked about that, but I don’t think we have overplayed it because you don’t want to ramp up the pressure over and over again. We’ve still got to keep our mind on what the job is.

ADVERTISEMENT

“One thing that has been so impressive this year, or one of the things, is how connected the group are and how emotionally bought in they are to what the team is trying to do.”

While Saracens suffered a surprise home defeat against fellow title contenders Sale last time out, their record at the Premiership’s business end is impressive. They have contested nine of the last 14 Premiership finals, winning six, including five titles since losing to Saints 10 years ago.

“We have got confidence in our game, but we are under no illusion as to the quality – both in character and skill – sat in that Saracens changing room,” Dowson said. “We know it is going to be a big test, but we are confident we have got the ability, if we get it right, to do a job.”

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain
Search