Courtney Lawes called up by England as Mouritz Botha and Tom Palmer head home


Courtney Lawes, the thoroughly modern lock from Northampton whose Test progress has been badly hampered by injury, is back in the England mix for the final international of the year, against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday. Lawes replaces Mouritz Botha of Saracens in the match-day squad and is likely to be given a run off the bench.

Ten other players, including a second boilerhouse specialist in the experienced Tom Palmer, joined Botha in being released back to clubs for weekend Premiership duty. The Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples, who scored two tries in the opening autumn game against Fiji, was again declared surplus to requirements, his way blocked by the repositioned Harlequins full-back Mike Brown. Thomas Waldrom of Leicester, the starting No 8 in the first two Tests, was also sent packing.

Lawes was a part of England's miserable World Cup campaign in New Zealand last year, failing to catch the eye as the then manager Martin Johnson had hoped. He is, however, an outstanding athlete with a supercharged tackling style – just the kind of forward who might make his presence felt against the best side on the planet.

There was plenty of fighting talk in the England camp yesterday as two of the squad's outside influences, the naturalised South African midfielder Brad Barritt and the former Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell, talked up the team's chances of inflicting a first defeat of the calendar year on the world champions. Barritt's assertion that "we don't put any player on a pedestal and we don't go in thinking there are gods on a rugby field" was reinforced by the assistant coach's view of the confidence in the squad.

"We have a champion's attitude that we can knock over champions along the way," Farrell said. "We did it once or twice when I was playing for Great Britain against Australia, and while the All Blacks are as good as it gets in union at the minute and are producing some outstanding stuff, we have it in us to take our game to them. The reality of last week's match against South Africa was that we were the best team, piling on the pressure and making inroads. Sometimes you win those tight games, sometimes you lose them. If we generate the same intensity and the same intent, we'll be in with a chance in any type of Test.

"Let's be honest, New Zealand are a fantastic side at the minute, there are not many weaknesses throughout. They do a lot of things right but they are also vulnerable in places, there is no doubt about that. You cannot be exceptional in every single department for the whole 80 minutes. It is up to us to make them have an off day and, hopefully, be on song ourselves."

Barritt, the most resilient defender in the England back division – and perhaps in the team as a whole – was every bit as keen to support colleagues who were heavily, and in many cases unfairly, criticised after the one-point defeat by the Springboks.

"There is something special about each person in this group," he said, sounding a little like an adviser on a self-assertiveness course. "In order to be here, you're a natural-born winner who will do anything to get in that winning position.

"This is a huge opportunity for us. The New Zealanders are performing to the optimum level but they're just humans with two legs and two arms."

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home