Saints lock Lawes feels he is rediscovering his best form
Pretty much every rugby player will tell you that getting a run of games is essential to producing peak form.
And in Courtney Lawes’ case that certainly rings true.
Because when the lofty Saints lock is able to stay fit for a prolonged period, it is noticeable just how much more of an impact he can make.
The 27-year-old hasn’t had much luck with injuries during his career and spent some of last year playing on despite an ankle problem.
But he had surgery to rectify the issue during the summer, even missing his own stag do as a result, and was able to come back better for it this season.
Injury has stayed away from his door, with Lawes able to play the majority of Saints’ matches when he hasn’t been on England duty.
The only club matches that he has been absent for outside of the international window were the Premiership home game against Gloucester in October and the Champions Cup clash with Leinster in December, with Saints opting to rest their international stars for what was a 60-13 drubbing in Dublin.
Lawes played a full part with England in the autumn, starting all four of their matches and helping them to complete 2016 with a record of 13 wins from as many games.
And after helping Saints claim back-to-back wins during the past two weeks, Lawes said: “I’m feeling pretty good to be honest.
“I’m playing well and making some serious yards, good offloads, breaking tackles and that’s the main thing.
“I’m starting to get back to the sort of form I’ve been in previously in my career.
“Touch wood I haven’t had many injuries recently and that always makes a huge difference for me.
“I realised how to keep myself fit and barring and accident, hopefully I’ll carry on that run of games.”
Lawes’ next assignment is today’s crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Bristol at Franklin’s Gardens.
But after that, Saints will head back into Europe.
And with Jim Mallinder’s men bottom of Champions Cup Pool 4, having given up hope of qualification, Lawes could get some more welcome rest ahead of the Six Nations, which starts with a game against France at Twickenham on February 4.
“I’ve played a lot of 80 minutes this season and I’m not complaining, because it’s good, but it does take its toll on your body,” said Lawes, who spent the early part of this week at England’s Six Nations training camp in Brighton.
“Hopefully I’ll get a rest in one of those European games and be ready for the Six Nations if I get the call.”
But first, Lawes is desperate to bring some joy to the Saints fans, by helping the team beat Bristol.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do in terms of Europe but we’re targeting this next game and we have to win, we’ve got no other choice,” he said.
“It’s especially important for the crowd at home because we owe them for this season.
“We’ll be going out all guns blazing.”