Paris holds no fear for England

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 19:17
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Courtney Lawes says England’s pack are confident of asserting themselves against Les Bleus at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Courtney Lawes says England’s pack are confident of asserting themselves against Les Bleus at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The lock is under no illusions as to the eye-watering physical confrontation that awaits England.

Given Phillipe Saint-André has selected just nine backs in a burly match-day 23, a close-quarter arm-wrestle is extremely likely.

Even so, Lawes insisted Graham Rowntree’s forwards would not shirk an acid test of their tournament credentials.

“They’re just going to big boys in the pack and they’re going to look to dominate us. It’s going to be a big challenge for us and if we win, we’ll have a great platform to go off,” he said.

“[We back ourselves], especially in the scrum and the line-out. We’re very strong and organised there - technically very good. That counts for a lot.”

Lawes added he is delighted to have enjoyed an injury-free season so far. H started all three internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand at Twickenham in November - the first time he has managed such a feat in Test matches since 2010.

Throw in some marauding domestic and European form for Northampton Saints and the 24-year-old has reason to feel assured and comfortable heading into the Six Nations.

“It’s just good to be fit this year - touch wood - and playing consistent rugby,” said the towering lock. “Getting 80 minutes every week is hard on the body but it’s good on the mind.

“I just want to go out there and play the best I can. If my game doesn’t have any mistakes in it, the rest is a bonus.”

In the absence of Geoff Parling, Lawes has had the added responsibility of calling the line-outs - a mental burden that was initially tough to mix with his trademark all-action contributions in the loose.

However, in tandem with Joe Launchbury, he grew into the role and most prominently during the 22-30 defeat to Steve Hansen’s All Blacks he was able to influence elsewhere thanks to relentless carrying and breakdown work.

“It’s a lot more pressure. I found at the start of the series because I was so worried about calling the line-outs I didn’t perhaps do as much in the loose.

“Towards the end I got that balance right. Now I’ve just got to carry on with that.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 2 2 0 0 8
Ireland 2 1 0 1 6
Wales 2 1 0 1 5
France 2 1 0 1 5
Scotland 2 1 0 1 5
Italy 2 0 0 2 0