Dowson salutes 'extraordinary' Lawes as Saints legend's next move is announced

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Phil Dowson says Brive-bound Courtney Lawes has been 'extraordinary' for Saints this season.

And the black, green and gold boss has called on his players to 'harness the emotional energy properly' as they look to give Lawes the silverware-laden send-off he deserves.

Lawes will be making the move to France this summer, having spent 17 seasons with Saints after coming through the club's Academy.

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He has won a series of trophies at the Gardens and been one of the club’s outstanding performers ever since breaking into the first team as an 18-year-old.

Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

After helping Saints win promotion back to the Premiership from National One at the first time of asking, he then lifted both the European Challenge Cup in 2009 and the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2010, before a European Champions Cup final followed in 2011.

Lawes was then instrumental in Saints' greatest season to date, with the side claiming their first, and so far only, Premiership title and a second Challenge Cup trophy within eight days of each other in 2014.

He would love to do something similar this year, with Saints currently top of the Gallagher Premiership and into the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup.

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And Dowson has nothing but praise for what Lawes has contributed to the team this season, and in every other year he has been playing.

“It’s impossible to sum up Courtney’s contribution to Saints and England over the last 17 years," Dowson said.

“He’s still one of the very best – if not the best – number 6s in the world, he’s done it all in a Northampton shirt, his international experience is almost unparalleled, and off the field he gives our group so much in terms of confidence and leadership.

“I am convinced he would have loved to stay here at Saints to finish his career, but sometimes the offer is simply too good to refuse, and he’s absolutely earned the right to accept it.

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"He’s got a young family and I’m sure this new adventure will be a great experience for them too.

“It speaks volumes about Courtney’s talent and mindset that he didn’t feel like he got the best out of himself last season in a Saints shirt because of injuries, so he decided to stay on for another year and finish his time in Northampton on his own terms.

“Clearly, he’s achieved that in how well he’s played – he’s been extraordinary this season so far – and I’m sure he’ll continue to push himself for these final few months because of how strongly he feels for the club and the town.

“It’s going to be the end of an era when Courtney hangs up his boots here, and the squad has to ensure we harness that emotional energy properly – it can be a positive and powerful thing, but we also need to stay focused on what we’re trying to do for the remainder of the season.”