Saints Q&A: Courtney Lawes on getting back to his best for club and country

Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints'Courtney Lawes
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints'Courtney Lawes

This week, Courtney Lawes once again got the England call.

The lofty lock was informed that he would be part of the Eddie Jones revolution ahead of the Six Nations.

New England boss Jones recognised that form is temporary and class is permanent as he gave Lawes the nod.

And now the man who has become a staple feature for club and country since stepping up from the Saints Academy in 2007 is looking forward to Sunday’s Champions Cup clash with Glasgow.

We caught up with Lawes to talk about all things England and Northampton at this week’s media session at Franklin’s Gardens.

Courtney, you’re in the England squad - I suppose you kind of expect the call-up these days, don’t you?

“No, mate. It’s the first time I’ve not been too sure because we’ve got a new coach and I don’t know him or what he thinks of me as a player.

“Then, I’ve not played a lot this season because I’ve been injured for most of the Premiership year.

“There were a couple of doubts in my head but I’m just grateful that he’s seen enough in the past to put me in the team.

“Eddie phoned me on Tuesday night and he told me he’s not picking me on my form at the moment, he’s picking me because I’m a Test player.

“You want to know where you are as a player and what he thinks of you, and now it’s up to me to get back to that form.

“It’s a new beginning for everyone so it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Overall, how do you think this season has gone for you so far?

“I’m playing as well as I can for the amount of game time I’ve had.

“I played three games in between my two knee injuries so this is my eighth game this season, and that’s not a lot of game time.

“Having said that, I’m certainly not playing bad rugby.

“I’m getting involved a lot at the very least and it’s only a matter of time before I hit that form everyone expects from me.”

It’s quite a brutal season isn’t it?

“It is.

“It’s tough, but I’m enjoying it.

“I’m just trying to keep my body fresh and ready to play.”

How do you feel about how Saints are doing this season? Do you feel you’re getting back to the Northampton of old now?

“It’s been a slow start to the season and we’re still making errors that we would expect not to at this stage of the year.

“But the positive thing is that last weekend we turned around a bit deficit and we were in a position to win the game if decisions had gone our way.

“We can take positives from that, but we’ve got to learn that we can’t start games like that, especially big derby matches.

“This European weekend will be exactly the same.”

You mention this weekend, before you go away with England you’ve got some massive games for the club, haven’t you?

“Yeah, and it’s good for me.

“I need to prove that I can get back up to that same kind of form that most people expect from me these days, but it takes time.”

There’s a lot of pressure on the players to win both of these Champions Cup games, isn’t there?

“There is.

“We have to go and win both and we have to focus on that win first and foremost.

“Once you do that you can look at what you have to do to get the bonus point and if there’s an opportunity you’ve got to take it.”

Have the players been talking about what you did to Glasgow up at Scotstoun? They will want to avenge that 26-15 defeat...

“Of course. It’s always one of those when you beat someone at home.

“We went well against them in the pack and they’re going to be very up for the game.

“We’ve just got to prepare for that and make sure we expect it at the weekend.”

What has it been like to have Victor Matfield around?

“It’s been great.

“He loves a laugh and he’s a good boy off the pitch.

“He’s very professional and serious in terms of his homework and the things he does in the analysis room.

“On the pitch he’s very analytical so I’ve been learning a lot off him.

“I haven’t been calling (lineouts) because he’s here and Daisy (Christian Day) is here, so there’s no need really.

“I’ve certainly picked up a few little points here and there.”