Courtney Lawes will not change physical style

 

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The Independent Online

England lock Courtney Lawes insisted he will not change his approach to the game, despite serving a two-match World Cup ban for striking Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma with his knee.

Lawes maintains the ban that ruled him out of England's victories over Georgia and Romania was "harsh" and that there was no malicious intent in the challenge.



The Northampton lock prides himself on being England's second-row enforcer and manager Martin Johnson has given him licence to continue playing his natural way.



After two weeks on the sidelines, Lawes is ready to channel all his frustrations into Saturday's decisive Pool B showdown with Scotland.



Asked whether he would rein in his game, Lawes said: "No. I am not going to.



"I played well, I am always a physical player and that is how I am going to be.



"I thought (the ban) was a bit harsh. There wasn't too much else I could do, I didn't try and do anything malicious.



"I am always physical, I don't aim to hurt people and that is part of my game I think.



"The message (from Johnson) is very much to keep doing what I am doing. I don't give away too many penalties or do stupid things, I just make big hits when I can.



"I am looking forward to making amends and picking up from where I left off."



Although Lawes will be at full pelt against Scotland, assuming he is selected, Johnson did instruct him to rein things back on the training field over the last two weeks.



Johnson recently described how Lawes hits with such ferocity that his tackles all carry a "distinctive sound" - but that has been banned.



"I have been trying to train as hard as I can without injuring any of the boys," said Lawes.



"(Defence coach) Mike Ford told me not to injure any of his 10s!"



Lawes is not concerned that any hard-man reputation will cost him in the eyes of the referees, believing he treads the right balance between being hard and fair.



"I have only been cited once in the five years I have been playing rugby and I don't think it will happen again soon," said Lawes.



England watched Scotland lose 13-12 to Argentina as a group, making notes about their next opponent in what is effectively a do-or-die encounter.



With Argentina expected to beat Georgia handsomely, Scotland know they must beat England by eight points or more to progress and send Johnson's men home.



Scotland have not enjoyed that margin of victory over England since 1986 - but everything will be on the line and Lawes expects a backlash from Andy Robinson's men.



"They will come out knowing they have to win and when they are up for a big game they are a very good team," said Lawes.



"But at the same time we have to win, we always feel like that, and we have to try and display our dominance."



England now have Thomas Waldrom in camp after the Leicester number eight was called in yesterday to officially replace injured prop Andrew Sheridan.



Waldrom was born in Lower Hutt, near Wellington, and only discovered in March that he qualified for England through his grandmother.



"I am very excited to be here. It does (feel a bit surreal). It is a bit crazy," said Waldrom, who moved to Leicester from the Crusaders last year.



"It is a big honour and if I get an opportunity to play it will be a great honour and even my family will be very proud of me as well.



"It is a big turnaround but I am pleased to be here at this stage of my career."



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