Lawes to rule line-outs against Boks

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:26
Large courtney lawes england 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: England forward coach Steve Borthwick is looking forward to how Courtney Lawes will perform at the line-outs in his 50th cap against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Lawes has been recalled by England head coach Eddie Jones in the absence of injured first-choice locks George Kruis and Maro Itoje after impressing for club side Northampton.

It will be his job to call the line-out against a towering South Africa side, something that was the responsibility of former England captain Borthwick during his time as a Test-playing second row.  

"Courtney has been absolutely world class, diligent in his preparation and while he's had one or two injury knocks, he's looking after his body now," said Borthwick.

"I'm watching him and think he's doing very, very well. He's been playing well for Northampton and is well prepared for South Africa," the line-out specialist added.

Jones and Borthwick, as coach and assistant, were the architects of Japan's shock win over the Springboks in the English south coast town of Brighton during last year's World Cup.

Yet England head into this weekend's Old Mutual Wealth Series opener looking for a first victory against the Springboks since 2006.

"I was privileged to play a lot of games of rugby but, and I said this to the groups I captained at the end of my career, I don't actually remember an awful lot of them," said Borthwick.

"When you look back there aren't really that many that stick out, so it's important for people to create really good memories and memories that stick out.

"It's hard to find a common trend through our period of poor results against South Africa.

"We know they're a very good side, but this is an opportunity for us to put that to bed and start a new record. That's what we've been preparing for.

"We all know that Test rugby is a major physical challenge and South Africa are one of the most confrontational teams, but this is Test match rugby.

"The players are physically and mentally well prepared. This group has really developed and the leadership has been strong, not just from the captain but also from the senior players."

He added: "The one thing that's key is the players' ability to adapt on the pitch and they do that by playing smart rugby in all areas of the game."

Agence France-Presse