Courtney Lawes revealed a pain-killing jab to his ankle enabled him to spearhead England’s 24-12 Guinness Six Nations victory over Ireland at Twickenham.
Lawes celebrated equalling Martin Johnson 84-appearance milestone as the country’s ninth most capped player by delivering a man-of-the-match performance full of thunderous carries and destructive hits that rattled the Irish.
It also came on the lock-cum-flanker’s 31st birthday, but was only made possible by the medical attention he received in Northampton last week when he was given permission to return home.
“I had a jab in my ankle last Tuesday. My ankle had been playing up for quite a while so it was really good to have that. It made a big difference,” Lawes said.
“I came back, trained really well this week and was able to use my footwork a lot more. It paid dividends against Ireland.”
Lawes was disappointed by his outing in Paris, according to head coach Eddie Jones, as France posted a comprehensive win on the opening weekend, and was demoted to the bench against Scotland a week later.
“I don’t think I went terribly against France. I was solid. I got my hands on the ball a lot, made a lot of tackles,” Lawes said.
“I was obviously disappointed to get dropped, as you always are. Dropped or moved position.
“I was really happy to get on against Scotland, make some hits and then get the start again this week.”
Jones claimed his side were so dominant in their victory that they could have declared at half-time.
England surged up to second in the Guinness Six Nations table after George Ford, Elliot Daly and Luke Cowan-Dickie ran in tries in a one-sided demolition at Twickenham.
It was a display that had shades of the World Cup knockout wins against Australia and New Zealand last autumn and Jones warned Wales and Italy that his team have additional gears for the final two rounds.
At half-time, if it was a cricket game, we could have declared.Eddie Jones
“We played with a lot of control. We read the conditions well, read the referee well and at half-time, if it was a cricket game, we could have declared,” Jones said.
“We’ve been building up. I got the preparation wrong for the France game and apologised for that.
“There’s a lot more to come. We played tough in the first 40 minutes, probably took our foot off a little bit in the second half, but Ireland were always going to get some ball.”