Courtney Lawes expected to be asked to contain Northampton Saints team-mate Dan Biggar when England face Wales in Saturday’s Six Nations match in Cardiff; Lawes: “He’s obviously a class player so if I can get some pressure on him I certainly will.”
By PA Media
Last Updated: 24/02/21 9:37pm
Courtney Lawes will target Dan Biggar with a trademark big hit when England and Wales clash in the Six Nations.
But he expects his Northampton team-mate to ride out even the fiercest challenges.
Saints marked Lawes’ 31st birthday on Tuesday by publishing a highlights reel of his most thunderous tackles and the forward hopes to produce more suitable material when he hunts down Biggar at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Lawes is set to continue at blindside flanker armed with instructions to contain Wales’ veteran fly-half.
“I caught Dan the last time we played,” said Lawes in reference to England’s 33-30 victory at Twickenham in 2020.
“It was kind of the middle of a few bits, but he said he felt it so I was chuffed about that.
“He’s obviously a class player so if I can get some pressure on him I certainly will. He’s pretty tough to be fair, especially for a fly-half.
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he is certainly tough and he’s so competitive. I don’t think it will rattle him too much but I will try.”
Even without fans present for the 137th meeting between the rivals in all competitions – England have won on 65 occasions to Wales’ 59 – Lawes expects a full-blooded showdown in a pivotal phase of the Six Nations.
A second defeat of 2021 would effectively end Eddie Jones’ hopes of defending the title, while Wales remain in pursuit of the Grand Slam.
“The atmosphere is going to be a bit different but we’re still playing against a quality side,” said Lawes.
“It’s always quite exciting in Cardiff. You’re going somewhere that is always quite hostile, which helps Wales lift their game.
“What springs to mind when I talk about Wales is probably the competition – it’s always tough, it’s always close and it’s always one hell of a battle. I love it.
“It’s obviously something to look forward to, it’s a great spectacle and we’re all great competitors and on the back of that comes a lot of respect. I always look forward to playing them and the challenges that brings.
“That’s a great part of the game, which makes it so special. I’m always keen to go and play in those type of situations.
“Playing without crowds levels up the playing field a little bit because you don’t have that same atmosphere and you can’t draw on that energy of the crowd.
“You have to be able create your own atmosphere and your own energy within the team, then play off that. It’s about what team can do that a lot of the time.”
After losing against Scotland in the opening round and taking tentative steps forward in routing Italy, Lawes insists England are keen to re-establish their identity when they meet Wales.
“We want to get back to our intensity in our defence and making that the pillar of our team again. When we do that, we are a much better team,” Lawes said.