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Thursday Nov 28, 2013

Courtney Lawes returns to Premiership with huge tackle on Phil Godman

Courtney Lawes returns to Premiership with huge tackle on Phil Godman

England’s Courtney Lawes returned to Aviva Premiership rugby with a bang this past weekend, making his presence felt with a few trademark tackles, including this belter on Phil Godman. He admitted post match that he was pleased to make some big hits. 

Northampton Saints, despite still missing some international players, beat Newcastle Falcons 18-0 at Franklin’s Gardens, with Lawes in more of a senior role this season, particularly at the lineouts. 

He’s said that it’s quite different to get accustomed to Premiership life again, after the highs of playing Test rugby and being in camp with England for the last month or so.

“It’s quite tough to come from the tough international games straight back into the Premiership, hard to get your head round it. It’s different. There’s so much pressure on you (with England), then you’re relieved of that pressure and it’s hard to keep yourself mentally focused enough to put in a good performance,” he said.

“I worked really hard to get myself motivated this week. I thought I played solid with some good carries, didn’t make any mistakes, pressured the 10 and made some good hits.”

Newcastle’s Phil Godman was on the end of one of the biggest hits of the game, as Lawes used that quick line speed – never more evident than in the huge preseason hit he made against Bedford – to get up and terrorise the flyhalf with a trademark tackle.

This is a short clip, but worth sharing and adding to the growing archive of tackles from one of the most athletic second-rowers in international rugby today. There’s more in the related posts below.


  • matt
    6:48 PM 02/12/2013

    I think there is a relentless aggression there, but the worst thing you can say about any of his tackles is that they are poorly timed/slightly (if at all) late. There is never a case of a swinging arm, or a shoulder charge or high shots. He hits things, and he hits them hard and as often as he can. I think he is the perfect illustration of the difference between aggressive physicality and the types of dangerous or cynical play that people often defend with 'it's a passionate contact sport'.

  • poldybloom3
    6:00 PM 02/12/2013

    I agree with you regarding Lawes being an improved player , but I still think he has a nasty streak in him ;he makes more than his share of late tackles .I know Rugby is a tough game and there is a fine line between "abrasive" and "dirty " but I think Lawes is often on the wrong side of that line .Pity,He's very athletic and quite skilful but I think there is a dark side to him ,like Martin Johnson .

  • drg
    2:55 PM 30/11/2013

    Seen Victor Matfield do it...

  • jamiedorman
    1:37 PM 29/11/2013

    Hey, I get your point dave, I think that athleticism is brilliant. However, I think that England could do with a couple more big ball carriers. That's why I'm excited by the return of Nick Kennedy who became a monster in France and bulked up a lot; he did a real number for Toulon against Sarries. I feel that Lawes could do with a couple more stone, because unlike you, I don't think he can truly get into the grit of the tight five. Imagine Lawes with the bulk of e.g. Pascal Pape, yet with his inherent athleticism, that'd be scary. He may sacrifice some of his pace, but I think it'd be worth it.

  • 10:19 PM 28/11/2013

    That's exactly what I thought when I saw the image. He survived this one, hell who is to say he didn't get a little bit shook up by it himself. Goodman lowers his shoulder a little and Lawes catches his head on it. He still probably "wins the collision" but those kind of tackles add up. In response to doesn't smash the big guys... Do you see many big guys running across the field chipping the ball? Of course Goodman is gonna get it. Gotta be aware when this fellah is on the field. Not a great ball carrier though.

  • sg83
    9:11 PM 28/11/2013

    So he's flattened another guy who didn't see him coming, big deal. It's not that hard when he doesn't know you're there! I realise he's able to do this because of his athleticism, but I think it's far more impressive watching a guy like Willem Alberts who can line up a big forward head on and still smash him backwards more often than not.

  • katman
    7:06 PM 28/11/2013

    Boom. What a great tackle.

  • cambridgeshirekid
    6:39 PM 28/11/2013

    When you are targeting the FH you tend to tackle the FH. Something tells me that he isn't going for big hits on players, just trying to make the tackle, it just happens to be big every now and again and put on the internet.

  • matt
    5:55 PM 28/11/2013

    I think Jamie has a point. But I don't think it is a massive issue. He doesn't shy away from tackling the largest boys there, it is just difficult to make the same impact, especially tackling the way he does, i.e with momentum.

  • 2:02 PM 28/11/2013

    My problem with Lawes is that I cannot remember him putting in a big hit against a big player. No big Bakkies Botha-like hits or even positive ones. Agains big players he can't seem to assert his dominance. All the videos of Lawes are of him smashing smallish backs, so to become a great player he needs to enforce everywhere on the pitch, not just the beginning of a backline (if that makes sense).

  • danknapp
    2:01 PM 28/11/2013

    Booooring. Perfectly legal hit. He has good line speed to get up and make the hits on the #10 so quickly. He forces the players to make a quick pass and they often botch it. The fact that he forces them is a strength of his game. He is totally committed to the tackle, and it's completely fine.

  • aj_capote
    1:10 PM 28/11/2013

    This is fantastic. I used to be a bit anxious about seeing Lawes in the first team for England, I thought he was a big basher but also prone to being dim and giving away penalties - especially when played in the back row. But he's really upped his game this season, and to keep Parling out of the team is impressive. It's good to have a proper muscular second row back, Launchbury and Parling are both excellent lineout locks but Lawes adds muscles and big hits.

  • murina
    12:46 PM 28/11/2013

    And so the comments about him being a one-trick pony, comme Chabal... But there's no question his all-round game has improved and he did not look out of place against the ABs. His line-out jumping, his timing of his runs (no headless chicken) and his ability to be around the park in a second, makes him a real asset. Less penalties as well, due to the above. He may not be a McCaw but he's certainly becoming a world class lock. Oh, and great tackle. The ball was away, but tackles like that help put seeds of doubt into No. 10's mind.


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