Saints star Courtney Lawes insists there is even more to come from him in 2018 – even if he has two new arrivals to contend with…
Whichever way you look at it, 2017 has seen Courtney Lawes come of age once again.
That might sound like an odd thing to say of Saints’ 29-year-old veteran, but the effervescent lock has undeniably come on leaps and bounds.
Lawes added another Six Nations triumph to his resume in the spring before playing a key role for the British & Irish Lions on last summer’s tour of New Zealand – but it is the subtle improvements he has made across the board on the pitch that have really caught the eye.
No more is he seen solely as a big-hitting behemoth; Lawes’ more rounded game is seeing him throwing his weight all over the field, carrying brilliantly and gaining huge yards, offloading superbly and dazzling with footwork that belies his size.
So has he hit his peak? Ask the man himself and Lawes is adamant he still has so much more to offer.
“At the start of this year I just really focused on trying to improve – the same as I am now,” he said.
“I always think I can get better, I’m still striving to get better, and that’s all you can do. I don’t feel like I am at the peak of my powers, I have more to give.
“The quicker I can improve the more satisfied I am. I work hard in the gym and out on the pitch – handling, offloading, movement off the ball are all things I’ve looked to improve.
“All those little one per-centers, they make the difference.”
Change is afoot off the pitch as well for Lawes, who is set to see the number of mini-Courtneys running around his house double when wife Jessica gives birth to twin boys in-between Christmas and New Year.
With Nelly (four) and Teddy (two) already keeping his hands full, Lawes admits he will have his work cut out with the new arrivals, but the 61-time England international believes his kids keep him energised rather than fatigued.
He said: “They were due on January 20th but my wife is being induced on the 27th, so they will come this month just after Christmas.
“I absolutely can’t wait! Obviously it’s going to be pretty tough, going from two to four means we’re definitely outnumbered now.
“It was only me and my little brother growing up but I always knew I wanted a big family, so this is it and I’m really excited.
“My wife is brilliant and she knows what I have to do at work so she’s incredibly helpful at home, but at the same time I go home – especially at the moment with her being so pregnant – and I’ll have the kids.
“We know it’s twin boys, but we can’t decide on the names, so that will have to wait until they arrive.”
With Aviva Premiership champions and current top-of-the-table outfit Exeter Chiefs in town, Lawes is under no illusions that a mammoth task awaits Saints today.
But given all the off-field changes at Franklin’s Gardens, Lawes cannot wait to get back on the pitch and do what he does best in the Aviva Premiership.
“Definitely we are looking forward to getting back to it in the Premiership,” he added.
“No games in the league are easy, and we’ve obviously had a few changes, but we’re looking forward to putting a few new things into practice.
“We’re all staying positive, which is the main thing. Dylan [Hartley] is a great leader and he’s a got a good group of boys around him to help push the squad on and get everyone through these different times.
“We can really turn this season around now, starting with this game against Exeter. We had a bad start to the season but then we went on a good run – it’s about getting back to that and we’re not far off.
“We know we have all the talent to beat the top teams. Exeter are one of the best attacking teams out there, so our defence has to be basically unbreakable.
“We need to front up and stop them getting easy points; if we can do that we should have a good day.”
Tickets are still available for the Gloucester match at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday 6th January, starting from £28 (adults) and £12 (juniors). Visit bit.ly/SAI-GLO-201718 to book online or call the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.