Saints lock Lawes likes being a one-club man

Courtney Lawes says he would consider playing abroad at some point, but the lock insists he likes being a 'one-club' man at Saints.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 7th May 2020, 7:00 am
Courtney Lawes
Courtney Lawes

Northampton is all Lawes has ever known, having emerged from the club's Academy.

He made his Saints debut in a National League One match against Esher in 2007 and has gone on the rack up 231 appearances for the club so far.

Lawes has also been a big hit with England, winning 85 Test caps, the most recent of which came against Wales during the Six Nations clash at Twickenham in March.

The 31-year-old signed a new two-year deal at Saints in October 2018, keeping him at the club until at least the summer of 2021.

And when asked about his future in a recent Rugby Paper interview, Lawes said: “It does make things easier when you’re settled at one club and the club know all about you.

"I like being a one-club man at Saints, that’s for sure, but who knows what the future will hold?

“You know what rugby’s like, it’s a business at the end of the day.

"I’d obviously like to stay there my whole career, but I’ve got a family to look after post-rugby so I’ve got to make sure that I’m getting what I’m worth and that’s a part of it.

“I’m certainly willing to go abroad at some stage. Whether I will or not is another question and I’ve got another year on my contract anyway, so I’m not going to worry about that now and I just want to get back to playing some rugby again.”

Lawes is now England’s most-capped lock ahead of Martin Johnson and has equalled Lawrence Dallaglio’s mark as a back-five player.

“It’s a pretty cool record to have,” Lawes said.

“Somebody told me a while ago that I’d equalled it and that’s pretty exciting, so hopefully we can get rugby back on again at some stage in the near future and I can take that title from him.

“When I made my England debut in 2009, I never really thought about caps and records. I just wanted to play rugby and my only ambition was to get out there for any chance I got, but as the chances came the caps have just piled up and up.

“I don’t know about another World Cup because that’s all dependent on selection and what happens next year contract-wise, but I do feel pretty good physically and if I can keep on improving as a player, I’ll keep going for as long as I can.”

Lawes was delighted to see England boss Eddie Jones extend his contract recently.

And the Saints star gives plenty of credit to Jones for how he has helped him to develop his game.

"I carried quite a lot early in my career but a few injuries down the line I went away from that a bit," Lawes said. "But over the last four or five years I’ve decided to prioritise that and make it a big part of my game with the other stuff.

“Pretty much from the moment Eddie came in, he said that we needed to hit people to hurt and carry the ball harder, so from there on in I knew I needed to focus on bringing that back into my game and I’ve been pretty successful at it.

“I’m very pleased (Jones has extended his contract). I’m a big fan of Eddie and think he’s a brilliant coach.

"It’s been great to be involved with him for as long as I have and the biggest thing he brings is his high level of detail.

“He’s a really dedicated rugby man who loves the game – he’s always watching it and puts everything into being a coach, which in turn prepares us to be the best we can possibly be, which is a big part of winning games at the top level.”

Lawes played a key role as England reached the World Cup final in Japan last year, eventually losing to South Africa in the showpiece.

And he said: "It was South Africa’s day in that final and they were the better team, but we’re still proud of what we did in Japan and we’ve still got a good shot at winning the Six Nations, so as a team we’re there or thereabouts at the top.

“We didn’t have a great start to the Six Nations in France but it’s always tough there and coming back off the World Cup there was a bit of rustiness.

"The main thing is we got back on the horse and put in some good performances, and we’d certainly built some momentum before the shutdown so it’s a pity we didn’t get to finish the job.”

For now, Lawes is only focusing on the not-too-distant future as he continues to contend with life in lockdown.

“I had to give up on conditioning pretty early on because I just didn’t have the time, with home-schooling two older children and having young twins to look after as well,” he explained.

“I’ve just been trying to keep up my weights and size because the running stuff will come back pretty quickly when we’re back training again.”

With Saints now starting to compete for major honours again, England progressing well and a Lions tour beckoning next year, Lawes has plenty to aim for.

He said: “I was really glad to get on the last Lions tour in New Zealand and hopefully I can peak at the right time to earn another invite.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing under Chris Boyd at Saints and I still love my rugby.

"Training’s hard as you get older but Saints and England know how to look after me pretty well and know what I need to go out and perform well on a weekend.

“That’s what I enjoy doing most so I’m still well motivated to give it my all.”