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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Flyhalf killer Courtney Lawes adds Charlie Hodgson to his list in Premiership final

Fresh from double finals success, Northampton Saints lock Courtney Lawes is raring to go and full of confidence ahead of the series against New Zealand. He had another excellent game on Saturday, including one massive trademark hit in particular.

Lawes played a big part in the Saints' 24-20 Aviva Premiership final win against Saracens at Twickenham, as well as the strong season, but now shifts focus to the All Blacks, who have at least one player on their side that doesn't really seem to know who he is.

When asked about the England squad, New Zealand's Brodie Retallick struggled to name any of them. When pushed for an answer he said 'Michael Lawes'. He might have gone blank, genuinely doesn't know, or it was simply a deliberate attempt to wind up the tourists and media.

If the latter, it seemed to work as just about every rugby newspaper or website published a story about it this week (and now we can be added to that list).

Unavailable for the first Test, Lawes says that there are just two big games left in the season, so he's relishing the challenge. "Most of our players who are going to New Zealand produced good individual performances. I'm going to go there brimming with confidence, ready to enjoy myself.

"It has been a very long year, but it's just two more games, so you've just got to crack on. You will always be up for a Test match - we will fire into them. I am going to go out there looking to enjoy myself, get ball in hand and build on this confidence I've got through the season," he said.

On Saturday Charlie Hodgson found himself on the wrong end of hard-hitting Lawes as the Saints lock launched into him with a trademark hit, something we've seen repeatedly over recent seasons. Respect to Hodgson though, now 33-years-old, who took it well and hopped straight back up.

You can view more of Lawes' big hits in the Related Posts below this

Posted at 11:06 am | 21 comments

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 21 comments

Full Back June 05, 2014 12:10 pm

If there's anything I'd rather see when defending, for the life of me I can't think of it! (ok, the ball coming into my hands with clear pitch ahead of me, but that aside!)

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Rugby Lover 10 June 05, 2014 12:17 pm

Man, you gotta love him, unless if he hits you like that !!! :-)
Gimme some Courtney's hits baby !!! (it's not even a song, it should...)

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DrG June 05, 2014 12:56 pm

There were a lot of people bashing Lawes the last time he did one of these sorts of tackles JUST after the ball was passed away - People saying it was late, what was the point in smashing someone who has passed the ball, stating how it's pointless because Lawes hits never make a difference etc...

Firstly, in the past I thought there was a lot of credit going to Lawes when he perhaps; to me, appeared anonymous, but credit is definitely due to this man and that hit was an example of what happens when the timing is perfect. The ball was sent flying. I personally can see a lot of benefit to his hits (even if the ball is gone) because the player on the receiving end normally takes one or two phases to get his composure back, but this time it was great to see an immediate result.

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Facepalm June 05, 2014 2:29 pm

It's getting to the point where there needs to be a new section on rugby dump devoted entirely to Courtney Lawes. It's actually more of a surprise if he doesn't make it on here after playing than if he does.

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DanKnapp June 05, 2014 8:50 pm

The majority of the big hits I've seen him dish out are on 10s, but only because he has such impressive line-speed. He doesn't get the same impressive results with forwards, although he was absolutely fantastic in the close-quarter stuff in the premiership final.

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Eddie-g June 05, 2014 2:31 pm

Re Brodie Retallick, it's even worse than you say. He was actually asked if he knew any England players playing on Saturday. Obviously Michael Lawes isn't, but then neither is Courtney Lawes.

And the situation under which this came about is ridiculous. Tom Wood said it all in an interview with the Guardian (link below). For the people running the game to schedule a marquee international knowing full well it means one side won't field its best team is a disgrace. Chris Rattue in NZ has called this team England-lite, and regardless of the result, he's correct. Both sides should have their best players available, and test rugby is undermined when they can't purely for scheduling reasons.

It's one thing when a team deliberately fields a weakened line-up, e.g. to keep players fresh for a world cup as SA have done; but when administrators create this type of a fixture pile-up, you have to wonder if they pay the merest consideration to the integrity of the game.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/may/14/england-new-zealand-tour-schedule-tom-wood

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10stonenumber10 June 05, 2014 3:08 pm

He's 6 foot 6,
with shoulders made of bricks,
18 stone
he'll break your fly half's bones
COURTNEY LAWESSS!!!!!!
COURTNEY LAWESSS!!!!!!

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Lockdown June 05, 2014 4:28 pm

This was huge, but thought the North/Farrell collision was even bigger

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Canadian content June 05, 2014 7:37 pm

Yeah that was crazy huge, gotta give it to Farrell to step in front of that train.

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DanKnapp June 05, 2014 8:51 pm

That was probably the impact of the game as far as I was concerned, great shout.

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Foxy June 05, 2014 10:28 pm

Dan you say 'Most of his hits are on 10s', but as any back rower worth his salt knows the 10 is the man you have to hit hardest and most often. That was always my favourite job.
I know he isn't a back rower but he gets off the defensive line and smashes the 10 like one

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DrG June 05, 2014 11:11 pm

Ahhh :D tis a dream come true to see a 10 stretching to catch a dodgy pass from their scrum half...

It always makes me sad if/when they learn their lesson after the first hit though :( makes the game much less interesting for me.

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DanKnapp June 06, 2014 5:38 am

Don't get me wrong Foxy, you'll find comments from me on many videos on RD saying just what you've said. There is absolutely a place in the game for these hits on 10s. I simply meant that sadly he doesn't get the same spectacular results against the big boys. He tackles really well and gets into all the right places - I think he's had an outstanding season for club and country - but his biggest and most spectacular hits all come against 10s.

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matt June 06, 2014 11:30 am

I think the main reason for this is that Lawes is basically a collision specialist, not so much a tackler. The timing is incredibly impressive, but there is very little technique in how Lawes tackles, and unfortunately that doesn't work so well then the ball carrier is as big as you, or moving in the right direction.

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Foxy June 08, 2014 5:50 pm

I also think its about what you want to achieve from a tackle and the circumstances of it. Generally in the tight nitty gritty of the pack the priority is to prevent the carrier, who is coming with momentum, making the hard yards and to have a chance of a turnover. when he is hitting the 10 like this he is standing still with no momentum and Lawes just wants to smash him, put him off his game as well as maybe dislodging the ball.

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jimmy23 June 05, 2014 11:25 pm

Here goes nothing,

I guess you could say that hit was..... 'Lawesome'

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Gazza June 06, 2014 11:58 am

Yet another example of a big hit on a small back...
Well done Lawes but the truth is you go missing when it gets really physical. Roddick, Etzebeth and co. will have you for breakfast.

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Leadbitter June 06, 2014 12:13 pm

Hi Gazza - no they wont.

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DanKnapp June 06, 2014 1:42 pm

I'm guessing you didn't watch the game Gazza, where Lawes demonstrated a remarkable ability to stop rolling malls, interfere with line outs, and generally break up forward-based moves.

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usa2-7 June 07, 2014 4:48 am

have you seen the size of etzebeth? the man made the stormers RUN OUT OF WEIGHTS. he ate bismarcks lunch and he will eat anyone for lunch he wants too

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DrG June 07, 2014 10:31 am

Yet for all that I'd still pick the likes of Matfield and a disciplined Bakkies over him...

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