Laidback Lawes’ steely determination

  • Courtney Lawes talks to ERtv about his return to face Scotland
  • Mature outlook on Lawes’ contribution for the team

As any rugby player poleaxed by a shuddering Courtney Lawes tackle will attest, the dynamic lock’s understated and unperturbed manner does not equal a lack of desire to succeed.

Developing as a player and a person through 36 Test caps in a six-year England career, the 26-year-old still hunts down attackers with ruthless efficiency but is more concerned with contributing all over the field than making highlights reels.

Lawes is back in Graham Rowntree’s pack to face Scotland at Twickenham after nine weeks out with an ankle injury, his confidence boosted by two impressive 80-minute performances for Northampton Saints.

“I never put in that many big hits, it was more quality than quantity,” he says with a telling smile. “I still go looking for tackles but I’m more concerned with making sure I don’t miss any rather than making big hits.

“I’m fit enough, I’m covering the ground well enough. Now it’s just the game reading, the impact side of things that I need to get back into the swing of as fast as possible.”

Lawes started his England career at just 20, a lean young man in the world of gnarled second row forwards. Scotland’s 21-year-old Jonny Gray, his likely opposite number on Saturday, is making similar early progress.

Impressed by “big boy” Gray’s form, Lawes pondered what he would now say to himself when he started out in Test rugby. In typical style, he joked: “I’m not sure, back then I was probably better than I am now.

“I’d tell him to chill out, don’t try and impress too much. Just stick to what you’re good at and enjoy it.”