Lawes eyeing Argentina trip
April 21, 2013
Courtney Lawes expects to be with England and not the Lions in the summer © Getty Images
England and Northampton Saints second-row Courtney Lawes admits he is unlikely to be called up for the British & Irish Lions trip to Australia, but does want to make his mark on England's two-Test series in Argentina.
Lawes hadn't started for England since the World Cup group stage win over Scotland when he was pick as flanker for this year's Six Nations match at home to France. It was an underwhelming performance; he missed a number of tackles and was hauled off by Stuart Lancaster after 50 minutes.
With the Saints finishing the season in strong form and a place in the play-offs theirs to lose, Lawes feels that he is nearing the type form that earned him a debut cap aged 20.
"Now I feel strong and quick and I know that in terms of physicality and athleticism there aren't too many second rows out there who can do what I can do," Lawes told The Rugby Paper. "The Lions is probably a bit of a long shot now, but Argentina would be brilliant and I am looking forward to heading out. It has been a tough couple of years for me because it's very hard to develop as a player when you are injured for so long."
Lawes' rise after making his debut against Australia in 2009 appeared to be meteoric, but shin problems have limited the impact he has been able to make in recent years and he has seen Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury establish themselves as Lancaster's first choice second-row pair. Despite slipping down the pecking order though, Lawes remains confident he can force his way back into the starting team.
"Now I just want a shot to make my mark with England," he said. "In the 2010 autumn Tests I was given those opportunities and was man of the series. That is what I am capable of. All I need every week is 80 minutes and I'll be flying. I still believe I'm a Test player either at number six or second-row, especially with the way I'm building my performances for Saints."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton