Connect with us

Northampton Saints

Courtney Lawes to run his ‘blood to water’ in Premiership semi-final

Northampton Saints icon Courtney Lawes wants to ‘run his blood to water’ in his final game at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night, as he aims to go out with a bang. 

The British and Irish Lion and England international will bring his 14-year stint in the East Midlands to a close at the end of the season, however a win on Friday night would ensure he ends his Premiership career playing in the final.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Lawes said he’ll ‘give everything he has’ to end on a good note: “I want to go out there and do what I’ve always done; which is just run my blood to water and give everything I have and to do that.”

Whilst his focus is on the game in the short-term, Lawes said he will take it all in at the final whistle.

“I’ve thought about it a couple of times,” he said. “How this be the last time I get the opportunity to go out there and play for the Saints in front of the home fans. It’s mad that it’s come around this quickly. I think I can reflect on it post-game when the job is done. That’s when I’ll take it in.”

“I’m a very emotional person generally,” Lawes continued. “But running out for this game will be up there. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had, and the fact that I’ve been able to achieve what I have in the shirt is certainly something I’ll treasure forever.”

A fairy-tale ending would be a fitting end for the Northampton Saints legend, however he faces a tough test against Saracens.

Courtney Lawes on improvements in his overall game

Courtney Lawes-Credit: IMAGO

In his career to date, Lawes has become known for his thunderous tackling. Viral hits on Jules Plisson and Morgan Parra epitomise his typical style of play, however in recent years he has become a great ball-carrier and has developed a keen eye for the try line too.

“I was really focused on ball carrying at the start of my career. I actually came in, I don’t know if you remember my first Autumn Internationals in 2010, I carried a lot. Then, I just lost confidence in it through the years, but Eddie (Jones) came in and said ‘we need that back’.”

“From then on, I’ve just tried to adapt to not only what I’m doing, but also where the game is going. I started carrying a lot, then I started trying to tip, so the ball handling came in. A bit later on in my career, I just focused a lot on the jackal and the turnover; because it’s a massive part of the game now.

“I just want to be able to make an impact on as many different areas as possible. It’s just meant that I’ve developed my game in different areas.”

As he alluded too, his development has come with the changing trends in the game, however this season he seems to be playing the best rugby of his career. He has notched five tries in all competitions, whereas he had only scored seven in the 13 seasons prior.

His form also earnt him a spot in the Premiership Team of the Season, and despite retiring from England duty is in the conversation for the Lions tour in 2025.

“I’m probably not a good enough wordsmith”-Phil Dowson pays tribute to Lawes

Phil Dowson-Credit: IMAGO

There’s no two ways about it, Courtney Lawes will go down as one of Northampton’s greatest-ever players. The towering forward made his debut back in 2007, and has gone onto make over 250 appearances for the club.

He has also helped Northampton win one Championship title, two European Challenge Cups, one Premiership Cup and one Premiership title.

Commenting on Lawes’ impact at Franklin’s Gardens, Director of Rugby Phil Dowson said he couldn’t ‘do it justice’.

“I’m probably not good enough wordsmith to do it justice really. We have had to manage Courtney’s training-load point, but as soon as you drop him into something competitive, we know he will be able to turn it on. The fact that he is so honed in on his game that he can flick a switch and be competitive, it shows his skill level and his ability to evolve with the game.”

“The game’s changed every year,” Dowson continued, “It’s almost unrecognisable for when I was playing; but his game has evolved as well. How many players go from the back-row to the second-row as they get older? He’s going the other way, he’ll probably be playing in the centres in Brieve.”

Lawes will leave a lasting legacy on the Northampton side, and he has very much left the jersey in a better place than he found it.