Jim Mallinder labelled Courtney Lawes ‘absolutely outstanding’ after the England star’s super-show against Wasps on Friday night.
Lawes, who had made his first start since February 18, against Worcester six days earlier, was at his bone-crunching best at Saints claimed a 24-6 win at Franklin’s Gardens.
The 23-year-old put in some emphatic hits to leave Wasps wobbling and help Saints make it five wins out of five in the Aviva Premiership this season.
And Mallinder was delighted with the display of the giant forward, who has made a fine recovery from the elbow injury sustained during pre-season.
“Courtney was absolutely outstanding,” said the Saints director of rugby. “Some of his defensive hits were staggering.
“He works hard, defensively he’s just got that line speed and physicality in the tackle, where he really does just knock attackers backwards.”
England coaches Stuart Lancaster, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree were in attendance at the Gardens and they will have been impressed with Lawes’ performance.
And Mallinder’s post-match thoughts will have been music to the ears of the Red Rose management team ahead of this year’s autumn internationals, which begin at Twickenham on November 10.
“He’s getting around as well as ever really,” said Mallinder said. “You wouldn’t think he’s been out of the game since March.
“I do think he’ll get better.
“Last week, physically in the last 20 minutes, he suffered because he’s not played for a long time.
“This week we brought him off after 60 and he’s only going to get better this season the more he plays.”