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James Schrader's sensational try saver

Andrew Trimble big hit leads to try

Alipate Fatafehi huge hit vs USA Eagles

HUGE hit between giant Polish forwards

Ruck Clean Out to dominate breakdowns

Touching Haka from Under 20's

Monday, August 19, 2013

Courtney Lawes huge hit in pre-season game vs Bedford Blues

Northampton Saints beat Bedford Blues 45-21 in a pre-season friendly on Friday night, but one of the moments of the match was when replacement lock Courtney Lawes made a massive, trademark hit on debutant Mike Le Bourgeois.

It was a baptism of fire for the summer signing from Jersey, as athletic England lock Lawes lined him up and asbsolutely smashed him. One could be mistaken for thinking Lawes was offside, but if you watch carefully he came from way back and covered the turf in no time at all.

Le Bourgeois endeared himself to the crowd by playing on, and managing to hide the relief at having survived the tackle from a player who has become known as a bit of a hitman.

"I’m just happy to have got up from it! It was just one of those where I didn't see him coming, but thankfully I was able to take it," Le Bourgeois told Bedfordshire News Sport.

It's a quick clip from Saints Rugby TV and the quality isn't great as the match wasn't broadcasted on TV, but it's a great example of incredible linespeed by the big guy, and a perfectly executed tackle.

View more of Courtney's big hits in the Related Posts below

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:37 pm | View Comments (40)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 40 comments

Murina August 19, 2013 6:39 pm

One of those rare head-to-head tackles where the tackler is actually going faster than the ball-carrier.

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DrG August 19, 2013 8:42 pm

When you're built like a pencil, like Mike is, it's not surprising he's going to get crunched every now and again.

However that being said, this to me epitomises what Lawes is all about.. Smash a small guy and then remain anonymous. I'm not saying he doesn't carry his weight during the game, but I don't see what is so special about him.

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Facepalm August 19, 2013 10:40 pm

When you say anonymous are you implying he doesn't do the grunt work? e.g hit rucks and make tackles?

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DrG August 20, 2013 12:00 pm

No, when I said "carry his weight" I meant, he does the 'normal' stuff, I just find overall he is nothing special, maybe I have missed thing he does, but seems to me he just lives to crunch the small guy.

Take Bakkies Botha for instance, maybe it's a massively incorrect comparison, but he smashes the small guy, smashes the big guy, carries the ball, steals the ball, all things which I am consciously aware of. He has a ton more experience than Lawes so perhaps time will tell. It's just I find Lawes is quiet in most other extra ordinary aspects of the game...

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Facepalm August 20, 2013 6:34 pm

There does seem to be a disproportionally large number of videos about Lawes smashing the little guy but I urge you to follow him closely in a game. He does all that you have listed consistently every game. The problem with Lawes is that no one will forget him getting ripped by Scott Williams. Apart from a shocker against France in this years 6 nations (when he was played out of position) he's played well every time he's started in an England shirt. It's very hard for a second row to stand out as extra ordinary because it's simply not their job. But Lawes is the guy you know is going to make the fly half hesitant every time he runs the ball and you know he's the guy who's not going to let his man over the gain line.

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DrG August 21, 2013 12:09 pm

Fair point about worrying the fly half, I do agree with that.

I'm definitely not saying Lawes is a bad player. But for me, I just don't see what he does that gets people putting his name down on their "top XV", or "Lions team predictions" etc etc for me, he seems to be one of those players you'd pick after a few others...

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Facepalm August 24, 2013 3:37 pm

He isn't the best second row in the world. I don't think anyone here is saying that. But remember injury has put his career behind by a year and a half. I predict him developing into one of England's most influential players by the world cup.

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Leadbitter August 19, 2013 9:32 pm

Then you don't see rugby.

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DrG August 20, 2013 12:27 pm

....but I can see the "reply" button...

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stroudos August 20, 2013 5:06 am


Did well to get the pass away.

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SupaC August 20, 2013 6:44 am

Interesting that all his big hit highlights on rugby dump are against backs. He doesn't seem to put the shoulder in to the forwards with as much success, does he?

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45678 August 20, 2013 8:27 pm

Surely a big tackle in this manner is more obvious than one around the fringes, doesn't mean he doesn't put both in

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Kevin September 03, 2013 1:58 pm

no you're right, he saves his big hits for the lighter backs. But i dont think thats such a bad thing because he can do serious damage to a back, force a turnover and create momentum for his team.
If he put in the same force on a big 17 stone flanker than he wouldnt get the same reward. Big hits only happen sparingly in matches and i think Lawes chooses wisely when to execute them.
Regardless of who he hits, i still think he puts in more big hits than most second rowers i've watched. A lot don't put in any big shots, on forwards or backs!
Now i know he lacks in other departments on the pitch but i dont think he should be faulted for picking on the backs

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Robb August 20, 2013 8:53 am

Stand off, not looking at the attacking defenders, Floodie in the Premier final case in point.

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Sam August 20, 2013 12:00 pm

Great hits here and there but all in all just a big oaf with very little going on in between his ears.

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RogerH August 20, 2013 12:32 pm

The past participle of broadcast is broadcast.

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Leadbitter August 20, 2013 1:01 pm

Exceptional forward players tend to stay pretty much anonymous; that is of course until their one or two`highlight reel' moments in a particular game get put up for all to scrutinize.
The reason why many fly halves get smashed by Lawes is that they simply misjudge the amount of time they think they have. They look up at the defense, then make a play based on what they perceive to be in front of them. Lawes is very quick, has incredible timing and is also very long which means he can quite legitimately be fully committed to a tackle just before the ball is released. There was not much wrong with either of the two Toby Flood tackles in the Premiership final - the only thing that was wrong was Cocker's reaction.
If you watch his play in detail, you'll see that he makes just as many chopper type tackles (enabling jackles) than he does big smashes. You'll also see that he makes these tackles all game long after hitting nearly every ruck going. You'll also see that as with every second row on the planet, he sometimes gets skinned by a world class back.
Rugbydump is a brilliant blog, but we should all accept that a `highlight' all too often does not represent that particular game or that particular players involvement over 80 minutes. Lawes is class. period.

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DrG August 20, 2013 1:42 pm

"Exceptional forward players tend to stay pretty much anonymous"

BS... When you subtract all the bad behaviour from a huge number of forwards you still get a massive amount of incredible highlights; something I don't see with Lawes!

Exceptional forwards to name a few (in no particular order):
Bakkies Botha
Victor Matfield
Simon Shaw
Nathan Sharpe
Brad Thorn

Then we could head into the realms of back rows but it wouldn't be an equal comparison.

Etc etc, have all produced the grunt work as well as made a significant impact all around the field.

Lawes does his job, but at the moment, I've yet to see him stand out to anything more than a "little guy smasher". I'm not saying there is anything wrong with smashing the little guys, nothing wrong at all, however that IMO is his claim to fame and it is disappointing that he has not produced more.

Of course he is still fairly new, there could still be time, but I haven't seen exceptional play from him that warrants the hype people give him..(yet?)

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Leadbitter August 20, 2013 2:24 pm

I think we may be at crossed purposes / I didn't really make myself clear or both:)
Do me a favour and type `Bakkies Botha' into the search bar at the top of this very screen. What do you get? So we agree. Take his rugbydump highlights of smashing people and general foul play out and there is nothing left for the rugby forum to talk about. Other than of course his all round brilliant play as a second rower - none of which stands out or makes for a worthy 15 second snippet.
It is not Lawes claim to fame that he is a `little guy smasher'; its yours.

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DrG August 20, 2013 4:22 pm

Well actually Botha's presence around the field is not just felt through his dirty play. But even if we both agree he is not exactly the cleanest player in the game and remove him from the list, Lawes is still left in the dust behind the rest of them.

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guest2 August 20, 2013 2:33 pm

As a player who has played against Courtney (last year), I have to say he does do the hard work in and around the rucks too. Granted he does not turn over many balls, but that isn't the type of player he is.

This is just showing an exceptionally big hit, go to youtube you will find thousands of them from different players. It doesn't mean you need to criticize every other aspect of a players game. Just enjoy it for what it is... a SMASH!.

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DrG August 20, 2013 4:25 pm

My God, I never said he doesn't do the hard work, I said he is somewhat anonymous, meaning I rarely see him carrying the ball, turning the ball over, winning every lineout that comes his way etc etc etc.... My point is, what Lawes does, is what MANY other second rows do, except they do other stuff as well.

It was a good smash no doubt, had this video not been about Lawes, I'd probably not have mentioned any other abilities, but it surprises me that every video about Lawes so far, has been him smashing backs....(or being on the receiving end of a nasty hit!)

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Facepalm August 20, 2013 6:38 pm

Who were you playing for?

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browner August 20, 2013 7:01 pm

All players have different skills, and impacts, some do the tight work [eg..O'Connell] other score tries ... Croft, Lawes major value to the team is his ability to wreck opposition backs with marginally late albeit fully committed tackles. When will 10's learn ....... When Saints wanted to disrupt Tigers who did they assign to the job? Yep, Lawes.... there's a reason, it's because he's good at it..... The same way Corbisiero has a different value to a team than Vunipola .... A brave but nevertheless daft 10 IMO pass slightly earlier & get Lawes YC for a late hit [cos he's too daft to pull out] , do it twice & he's off the field

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45678 August 20, 2013 8:36 pm

Lawes is probably forth or fifth in the pecking order for England for the England second row now.The guy is a phenomenal athlete and does put in some huge hits. It's harsh to criticise all aspects of his play, because he is a pretty useful carrier, line out technician etc. highlighting outstanding players is an interesting way of having a downer on lawes. You could easily criticise those players for certain areas of their game. Bakkies, albeit a god in my english eyes is a limited line out jumper. Matfield and oconnell could be argued as being too loose at times. Brad thorn could hardly be called a master of the line out either. They are all exceptional, but if you are looking for the perfect player, I'm afraid few of them exist. The most rounded second row in terms of skill set was probably Simon shaw, but he played second fiddle to Johnson for how long, so you can argue it many ways

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Facepalm August 20, 2013 9:18 pm

Fourth of fifth in the pecking order?! Maybe lets first consider the fact there are just 3 other locks in the entire England squad and then consider who they are.

Attwood - A good player for Bath, nothing really more than that. Played twice against Argentina this summer and I doubt he'll get many more caps for England.

Launchbury - I feel overrated and bigged up too much. I love him for Wasps because he's clearly a good, good player but he's been made out to be a superstar by shoddy journalists before his time. Still a bench good option for England since he can also play 6 if absolutely necessary.

Parling - England's best second row option. Wholly committed to the team cause. Would get into pretty much every side in the world. Line out skills to match anyone in the world.

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45678 August 20, 2013 9:44 pm

Harsh on launchberry, considering his quick rise to prominence. He is a well rounded player and plays above the level his age would suggest. Still developing

Agree, parling is one of England's best players. More than a line out technician. An intelligent player who picks good lines and has a huge tackle count. I think he would be a very good shout for captain whilst the back row is so competitive and neither robshaw or wood are guaranteed to start

The role of the second row is changing. The era of the hard man has gone and has been replaced with athletes. I like players with an edge who can mix things up, but they are back 5 rather than front 5 forwards these days, especially if you want a fast looser game

If croft was could scrummage, I think he would have a future at lock, but with him in the back row you can afford to have a player who isn't a line out specialist and offers something else

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45678 August 20, 2013 9:49 pm

As a left field suggestion, a fully fit Jordan crane type player could fill the void and play along side parling as a ball carrying lump - assuming croft is picked to jump in the line out. Not intended to be too many tigers playing, but hopefully you can see my rationale (maybe 2 years past sell by date though!)

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Facepalm August 24, 2013 3:34 pm

Jordan Crane England lock? No thanks.

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Bunn August 20, 2013 10:03 pm

Northampton's performance director, Nick Johnson, said that Lawes is the most exceptional athlete that he has worked with. He also said the Chris Ashton was the fastest Northampton player over 40 meters and 5000.

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RedRose2003 August 21, 2013 10:52 pm

Sorry Facepalm you are not correct about Launchbury, have not seen him have a bad game really (apart from wales nightmare, but nobody did then). Launchbury reminds me of matfield in the way he does everything so well, hitting rucks, carrying, offloading, fast pace, link play...he does it all.. Whereas Lawes just seems to do dodgey late hits, and seems to stop just about there.. I disagree on Attwood as well, really rate him, hes strong, hits rucks like a monster and is our 2nd best line out option after Parling, but agree with you over him, what class... Also think given time Lawes will slip behind ed Slater in England pecking order, really has to rediscover some form and stop with the ridicolous late tackles, him and hartley are liabilities...

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Facepalm August 24, 2013 3:33 pm

I want to make it clear I think Launchbury is a good player. But he's not yet developed into the player commentators are saying he already is.

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Facepalm August 24, 2013 9:49 pm

I am willing to concede on Attwood as I've rarely seen him play. He's just never left any impression on me when I have. Including when he played for England.

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Canadian content August 22, 2013 11:40 am

Revenge of the proletariat!

Richard cockerill show yourself and stop masquerading as a rugby dump community member!

Surely a lock should take every chance he gets to legally smash the ten!

Is this not rugby!

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RedRose2003 August 24, 2013 4:03 pm

Haha Canadian Content I am not even a Tigers fan, and Despise Cockerill he is eveyrthing that is bad in the game being a dick to officials...

However I stand by what I say Lawes like Hartley is one of those players who will do something stupid in a big match and Launchbury is very skilled.

I think lawes like croft are players who make the highlight reel time and time again, but never seem to really do much apart from their signature moves, Lawes with his massive (and often late) hits and Croft with his brilliant runs, unfortunately both of them tend not to do all the hard graft and needed things like players like Tom Wood or Chris Robshaw..who have very well all round games

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Facepalm August 24, 2013 9:30 pm

When has Lawes ever done something stupid? Show me.

I agree with you on Croft. Croft drops off tackles and hangs on the wing. Lawes is not like Croft. I'm sick of people saying Lawes doesn't put in the grunt just because he's always on the highlights reel. Watch him play, please.

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Bob December 17, 2013 9:35 pm

Yea, I agree. Lawes puts in some serious graft now and where he used to put in one big tackle a game and then fade away he does so much more work. Constantly jumping back to his feet to search for his next victim/to jackle the ball. He needed some time to come to terms with his personal issues (that he was a thug) but I think he's calmed down a bit in his age.
His late tackles are often a by product of the fact that he commits so fully that he isn't in a position to stop when the ball is away. I also love that people complain about him only hitting backs and other locks hit forwards. Lawes hits backs when other locks don't because other locks bloody can't. If a 10 is constantly second guessing himself and checking over his shoulder to make sure Lawes isn't about to flatten him then his full attention isn't on the game.
Lawes still has work to do to be the player he has the potential to be, but I think he's getting there. This 6N will be very telling.

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Shouldbeoff March 23, 2015 9:41 am

If a player receives the ball, makes a good pass and is then hit, then it is a late tackle.

If the tackle is made late with no intention to even consider it's lateness and avoid, then it's foul play.

If it's made in a way intended to damage, then it's violent conduct and a red card.

If it's done in a calculated way to damage targetting the outside half's leading shoulder joint, then it's Courtney Lawes.

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