Courtney Lawes says that the Saints team will have to be on top form from the first whistle at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night for the European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Racing-92.
After a promising series of opening exchanges in Paris last Saturday, Saints conceded two quick-fire tries to Racing which put them on the back foot.
And Lawes, who played the full 80 minutes at flanker, says that there cannot be a repetition of that in the return leg.
“Racing is a team full of quality players,” he says in this week’s podcast. “You’ve got to front up and be physical, and they were and we were last week. There were a few bruised and battered bodies this week, but we’ll recover and be ready for Friday.
“We know that what we did last Saturday wasn’t good enough. People want to see something different and we need to come out firing.”
Lawes also admitted his frustration at the stop-start nature of his season so far, which saw him miss a chunk of England’s Rugby World Cup campaign and then half-a-dozen of the Saints’ first few Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup matches.
But he says that with a full match under his belt he’s now looking to get back to top form.
“It was good to be back in the team,” he added. “I wasn’t expecting to play the full 80 minutes! But it’s not new; the last few times I’ve been injured I’ve come back and played the full 80 in my first game back.
“It’s onwards and upwards now, and, touch wood, it’s all in the past. Hopefully I can crack on with the season and get some proper form.”
Lawes chats about the start to the season and reflects on his experiences playing in a home Rugby World Cup in this week’s podcast, which also includes George North on why he’s a big kid at Christmas, Paul Hill on how playing in the Championship has helped him settle straight in at the top end of club rugby, and Jim Mallinder on how European competition has changed over the past few years.
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