‘I’m just getting old’ – Courtney Lawes reveals pre-game back issue ahead of Champions Cup quarter-final

Dylan Coetzee
Northampton Saints star Courtney Lawes on the charge.

Northampton Saints star Courtney Lawes on the charge.

Northampton Saints veteran Courtney Lawes revealed that he suffered a back spasm hours before his side beat the Bulls 59-22 in the Investec Champions Cup quarter-finals.

It was a brilliant performance from the hosts against a weakened Bulls team that struggled to keep up with the Premiership leaders.

The build-up to the game was dominated by the fact that the Bulls left several Springboks at home. Still, Northampton had to make the most of the situation and they certainly did with Lawes scoring one of the nine tries.

Never pulling out

The former England star, however, did not have everything his own way as he had back issues the day of the match. Lawes refused to pull out of such a big game.

“I had a back spasm at about one o’clock and that was fun! I am looking forward to playing game without wondering if I can run or not!” Lawes said.

“I’m just getting old. I have been dealing with a couple of issues the last few weeks and it is not ideal, but I could not pull out. I was ‘as long as I can run, I am playing’. I got a bunch of pain killers in me and cracked on.

“Knowing you can rely on your team-mates and the boys around you makes you just want to get out there and play with them. There was no way I was pulling out of this game.”

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Quality players despite selection

Jake White’s selection of a weakened Bulls side has added fuel to the fire around South Africa’s involvement in the competition. Saints boss Phil Dowson does not see it that way and took the challenge against the Pretoria men very seriously.

“I’ve seen the quality and strength in depth of rugby in Pretoria and how big it is, it’s unbelievable in that region,” Dowson said.

“And they have produced some of the best players in the world in the last 20 or 30 years.

“So we’re aware of the production line of very good players they have, so we knew not to take them lightly.

“The South Africa teams have added in terms of quality of players they have and their heritage.”

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