Six Nations 2014: 'Our line-out will throw Wales out of contention,' claims England's Courtney Lawes
Courtney Lawes is clear in his mind which two teams possess the best line-outs in the Six Nations – and neither of them belongs to Wales, who are England’s next opponents. “Certainly, ours and Ireland’s are the top line-outs and we need to use that going into the Wales game,” said Lawes, who is in charge of England’s sideline set piece. “I’ve been keeping an eye on Wales’ line-outs. There’ll be a decent chance for us to put pressure on them.”
The homework extended to a sweet family scene with a rugby twist in Lawes’ hotel room the night before Saturday’s technically fascinating win for England over Ireland at Twickenham. There was the lanky lock forward, his fiancée Jessica and their four-month-old daughter Nell – and the television on, showing Wales’ 27-6 defeat of France. “I thought it was very well done from Wales,” said Lawes. “They were really good, really physical, and it was a real response from their previous loss against Ireland.”
Luke Charteris is likely to pair up with Alun Wyn Jones – who missed the France match with a foot infection – in Wales’ second row at Twickenham on Sunday week. “[Luke] Charteris is a big boy, we’ll have to mark him,” said Lawes, and he had noted too Wales’ match-clinching try against the French, direct from a line-out.
And then there were the first three points of England’s 13-10 win, kicked by Owen Farrell after 23 minutes of set-piece nip and tuck. When Paul O’Connell resolved to put a stop to Lawes’ catching and made a full-on challenge for a steal, he was unable to get a hand to the ball, clattered his opponent in mid-air and conceded the penalty for jumping across the line.
Though there have been mishaps, the statistics are supportive: a 35-4 ratio of England line-out throws won and lost against France and Scotland, plus four steals. Wales have been warned.
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 4 California man Christopher Viatafa surrenders to police after googling own name and discovering himself listed as ‘most wanted’
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say