Lawes keen on lineout role
Hard-hitting lock Courtney Lawes is determined to add a new string to his bow and become a lineout maestro in a bid to win back his place in the England Test team.
Lawes has built a reputation as a ferocious defender and he has vowed to keep on flattening opponents, despite the row over his tackle on Toby Flood in last weekend's Aviva Premiership final. The 24-year-old was back to his destructive best for Northampton over the closing weeks of the season after two frustrating campaigns disrupted by injury.
But with Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury now ahead of him in the England pecking order, Lawes has recognised the danger of being typecast as just an enforcer. "I am going to keep hitting and hopefully keep carrying the ball as well but I am going to add as many strings to my bow as I can," Lawes said.
"I have started very lightly to be calling lineouts. I am 24 now, a little bit older so I feel I can add things to my game.
"I feel I still have got a lot to give and I've still got a lot of potential. I pretty much had my career put back a year and a half so I am pretty excited about what I can do.
"It has been a really frustrating couple of years, especially when you have been touted as such a good player at one point. People are expecting stuff from you and the response is 'he is not firing'.
"I don't think I was necessarily written off but people could see I wasn't doing the things I used to be able to. I had not played enough rugby to see whether I could influence a game. That has been coming back slowly but surely and I am feeling good again."
Kearnan Myall will take charge of the lineout for England against the CONSUR XV - a team made up of players from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil - in Montevideo on Sunday but Lawes will be prepared to take over at any stage.
With Launchbury a certainty to start against Argentina in Salta on June 8, and Parling on British and Irish Lions duty, Lawes is battling with Dave Attwood for the second engine-room role in the Test side.
"Courtney is very hungry to get his place back in the team," said England coach Stuart Lancaster. "He has watched Joe Launchbury come in and take his opportunity. Both he and Joe are exceptional young second rows. There is nothing to say we couldn't play them both together."