Planet Rugby

Irish clash will be a brawl - Lawes

11th February 2014 10:05

Share:

Courtney Lawes

Prepared for brawl: Courtney Lawes

England second-row Courtney Lawes expects a huge physical contest when Ireland visit Twickenham on Six Nations duty this month.

With Ireland unbeaten in the tournament so far, and England developing well under Stuart Lancaster, the 24-year-old acknowledges the meeting of the two could prove a brutal war of attrition.

"They're going well at the minute, they're going to come over very confidently," said Lawes.

"I think it's going to be a brawl; they're probably going to target the ruck area, try and maul us up front and make it a big physical battle. We're definitely ready for it, and we've got a nice weekend off next week."

As the home pack's designated "enforcer", Lawes will be at the heart of the tussle in the tight, and the contest at the breakdown. The clash also sees him rekindle his duel with veteran Irish second-row, Paul O'Connell. Four years ago, as his Northampton Saints side met O'Connell's Munster in the Heineken Cup, new-boy Lawes went toe-to-toe with the British and Irish Lions skipper in a display that turned heads, and heralded his arrival on the big stage.

And while O'Connell will surely have kept one eye on the progress of the lanky lad from the English Midlands, Lawes is not underestimating the scale of England's task.

"We're coming a long way as a team - we obviously haven't got as many caps as them, but our enthusiasm and our willingness to learn is going to pay dividends," affirmed Lawes.

"They're going to come over flying, I'd imagine. We need to be 100% ready to go and have a battle; we will be just as motivated and just as ready to dog it out as they are."

While his own form this season has been encouraging for fans of both Saints and England, Lawes has not forgotten how his club side were ripped apart on home turf by a rampant Leinster outfit in December, led by Jamie Heaslip and Brian O'Driscoll. Though Saints avenged the 40-7 reverse in Dublin a week later, the second-row is wary of a flying Irish start.

"This season's been a good season for me," acknowledged Lawes.

"Last year, I spent most of it fit, but I was just getting back into my stride and getting used to playing again after such a long time out injured. This season I've started off well and managed to tinker with certain things, getting my confidence back, improving a few technical points - that's the kind of thing you can only do when you're fit, training every day and playing at the weekend.

"I'm feeling really confident; I'm carrying well and tackling well. The lineout's running very well, so things are good for me at the moment.

"A lot of the Saints boys in the squad will be telling the lads exactly what it's like and how they can put you on the back foot straight away. It's so important that we don't let that happen."

Lawes is renowned in the Aviva Premiership for his big-hitting style, with a tackle technique that often sees him dive headlong at opponents with predictably bone-crunching consequences.

Though England let slip their rear-guard in Paris, conceding a late French try in Round One that lost them the game, they kept Scotland scoreless at Murrayfield a week later.

The second-row was, as usual, in the thick of an aggressive defensive display, finishing with eight tackles to his name. The Scots had no answer for the visitors' rapid line-speed and bruising collisions, with Lawes crediting assistant coach Andy Farrell for the team's prowess without the ball.

"Our defence was outstanding today, and it's credit to us that they didn't score," added Lawes, post-match.

"It's brilliant, it gets us so motivated to go out there and make big hits and defend like our lives depend on it. It's good to see the boys all making big tackles and making sure we knock them backwards.

"He (Farrell) loves a bit of contact," chided Lawes.

"He's making sure we're doing enough defence during the week in training to have confidence on the guys inside and outside you to be able to get in the opposition's faces and put in those big hits.

"We squeezed them and didn't give them any chance to get back in the game and put pressure on us, which was perfect."

By Jamie Lyall @JLyall93

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954