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Courtney Lawes adds to England's injury worries as Northampton beat Gloucester

Courtney Lawes is a doubt for England's Autumn internationals after withdrawing late on from the Northampton side that beat Gloucester 23-20 at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.

After watching Tom Woods lead Saints to only their second home Aviva Premiership win of the season, Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder revealed that the second row will go for a scan on a knee injury this week.

With Maro Itoje and George Kruis already out of the upcoming fixtures, England boss Eddie Jones was looking to Lawes to step into the second row, but will have an anxious wait ahead of the opening clash against South Africa on November 12.

Mallinder said: "Courtney has a bad knee, he did it a couple of weeks ago and missed the Montpellier game with it. We thought it had improved and he played last week with no problem, but midweek in training it reacted so we will have to have a scan on it to see the extent of the injury.

"I am not sure if he will be ready for the Autumn Internationals, fingers crossed there is not too much damage and he will be ready in a couple of weeks' time."

Tom Kessell scored the winning try with 10 minutes to go thanks to a delightful offload from Louis Picamoles, who touched down in the first half, with Stephen Myler kicking 13 points.

Jacob Rowan and Charlies Sharples scored tries for Gloucester, with Creig Laidlaw converting them both and landing two penalties but missing two others.

After a poor start to the league campaign and shipping 41 points at Castres last week the victory was a relief for Mallinder, who dispensed with the services of attack coach Alex King last month.

Mallinder said: "It was a close game, Gloucester showed some really good line speed in defence and put us under pressure. They have gone back to basics a little bit and they kicked well, particularly from nine.

"We didn't control the ball, we conceded a couple of tries which were loose, but we got there in the end. The subs did really well; Paul Hill, Dylan Hartley and Api (Ratuniyarawa) made an impact and that put them under pressure.

"We are not playing at the top of our game, but we have the players, we have done it before in the past. There are lots of parts to our game that we need to improve on and I am confident we can do that.

"Louis Picamoles has continued to impress, some of his offloading skills are sublime; the pass to Kessell was outstanding today. He is world-class."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys was left to rue another game that got away, having been upset by the awarding of the first try from Picamoles, which could have been ruled out for a double movement.

"I thought we deserved to win the game," said Humphreys. "Our game plan was good and our defence was incredible, but credit to Northampton they found a way to win. It is something we have talked about since the start of the season, there has been so many games like that. Ultimately we have conceded too many penalties at scrum time.

"At the time Picamoles' try felt like a double movement, but that was not the moment that decided the game, we still did enough to win the game. There were a couple of big penalty decisions that were crucial."


From Belfast Telegraph