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The 'bit of s*** already' Ollie Lawrence has had from Fin Smith

By Liam Heagney
Bath's Ollie Lawrence (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Bath midfielder Ollie Lawrence has revealed he has “a bit of s*** already” this week from Northampton No10 Fin Smith ahead of next Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final – but not in a sinister way.

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The pair have remained buddies since their days together at Worcester, whose October 2022 liquidation resulted in both players quickly going their separate ways. Lawrence was snapped up by Johann van Graan at Bath with Smith heading to Phil Dowson’s Saints.

Both have enjoyed excellent transfers, and their inspired club form has had an international sequel as Lawrence has now become a first choice in Steve Borthwick’s England midfield while Smith made his debut off the Guinness Six Nations bench in Rome in February.

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The expectation is that Borthwick will name both players in his tour squad next Monday to travel to Japan and New Zealand, but they must first face off as rivals in Saturday’s league final at Twickenham where Bath are seeking a first title since 1996 and Northampton a first win since 2014.

Ahead of that English rugby HQ showpiece, Lawrence has made an appearance on the latest episode of The Rugby Pod where he amusingly revealed that Smith has been onto him bantering about the match.

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“It’s funny, Fin’s a good mate of mine, so I chat to him probably every day and he has given me a bit of s*** already saying he is going to get stuck into me,” chuckled Lawrence on the show co-hosted by Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode.

“He is big and bold, but I think there will be a couple of runs down his channel at some point just to let him know I am there.”

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Lawrence is thrilled his friend is doing so well at Northampton. “I remember the first time I came in pre-season and he kind of was given a bit more of a shot (at Worcester) and was starting a bit more and I just thought, ‘This guy is so talented’.

“He has got so much ahead of him. He has gone to Northampton and taken it to another level. I thought he was class last season and this season he has been unbelievable and it’s good to see, especially after last year, everything that happened.

“To see him go and basically just take it on at 10 and dominate the way he has done this season, taking that Saints team to another level, it’s been class and it’s good to see. I’m happy for him and hope he can do it in the England shirt as well.”

Mention of Worcester, Lawrence claimed he felt guilty at how quickly he got sorted at Bath when so many of his Warriors colleagues were left unemployed in the weeks and months that followed the club’s sad demise.

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“After everything that unfolded in Worcester, I felt really lucky to pick something up so quickly, landed on my feet and got the ball rolling again.

“But I also did feel really guilty to an extent because of the fact that all of my mates I had just been playing with now not having jobs, couldn’t do what they loved doing.

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“I was the only one and a couple of others that managed to get something straightaway, get going with another team. There was an element of guilt but the people around me were, ‘Just do us proud’.

“You have to look after yourself sometimes and you don’t want to be selfish when you say that, but it comes from a good place; the only way I can move on is by focusing on myself and just going week to week and playing.

“That was a distraction enough for me and luckily, I had a good group of people around me, friends and family, that just kept pushing me to keep smashing it, you’ll make people around you proud. That was definitely a big motivator for me after everything that happened last season.”

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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