Calm and collected Lawes looks to steer Saints past Tigers

Courtney Lawes (right) and David Ribbans (left) have formed a formidable second row partnership in recent weeks (picture; Kirsty Edmonds)
Courtney Lawes (right) and David Ribbans (left) have formed a formidable second row partnership in recent weeks (picture; Kirsty Edmonds)

With emotion sure to be swirling around the Saints dressing room this afternoon, players will need to do everything they can to stay calm.

And they need not look any further than the human lighthouse, Courtney Lawes.

He is not necessarily the most vocal player, but he certainly leads by example.

And his calm and collected approach to matches is something many can learn from.

Rugby players obviously bring the best out of themselves in different ways.

But on an afternoon when there will be so much hype surrounding the match on the Twickenham turf, the composed approach of Lawes can be an educational one.

"It's a huge game and a big challenge," Lawes said.

"I don't generally get myself too worked up about it, like I don't with most games.

"I just take it game by game and concentrate on what I need to do for the team.

"It's a big one because of Horney (Rob Horne) and because it's at Twickenham the boys will be really up for it.

"It's one of those ones where you literally do not have to say anything about getting up for it because the boys will be there.

"There are definitely some weeks where you have to talk about getting up for the game, but this certainly isn't one of them."

Lawes knows all about east midlands derbies as he has played in so many of them since emerging from the Saints Academy in 2007.

But both clubs have undergone plenty of change in recent times, meaning this weekend's meeting is perhaps more unpredictable than ever.

"We've had lots of change, especially us," Lawes said.

"We've got a really different style of rugby - it's a great style of rugby - and I know that if we put it together we're going to have a good day.

"We want to win every game but we have to home in on this one and make sure that win, lose or draw, we put everything out there and give it everything we've got."

Saints have had some tough days at Twickenham in recent years.

They were heavily beaten by Saracens and Harlequins at English rugby HQ last season.

And Lawes said: "I can't remember the last time we won there with Saints, but that's rugby.

"We've got a game ahead of us and we're confident.

"We're going to go down there and give it everything we've got.

"We've got some great players, great talent and we're just starting to put it together as a team.

"I'm sure we'll go well."

If Saints are to go well, they will need the new-look second row partnership of Lawes and David Ribbans to do the hard yards.

Ribbans has filled the void left by Christian Day, who retired at the end of last season.

And Lawes said: "Big Ribeye is obviously developing really well as a player now.

"Seeing him on the teamsheet every week means we can develop a partnership, whereas last year I was in and other second rows were coming in and out.

"Dave's going really well, he's calling the lineout really well and we seem to make a good combo."

And when asked if he misses his old friend, Day, Lawes said: "I always miss Daisy. I saw him last Sunday and he's pretty happy not getting knocked around any more."