Belfast Telegraph

Impressive Lawes gives boss Gatland food for thought


By Nick Purewal

Courtney Lawes has declared himself ready to take on the All Blacks after impressing in the British and Irish Lions' 31-31 draw with the Hurricanes. Head coach Warren Gatland admitted Lawes and fellow lock Iain Henderson had given him "food for thought" for selection ahead of Saturday's second Test in Wellington.

England lock Lawes was buoyed to put himself right back in the mix having missed out on the 30-15 first Test loss in Auckland last weekend.

"With Eddie Jones with England we have a pretty hard regime and we've played some pretty tough tests, so I'm ready," said Lawes.

"It'll be a quick game but that's what we want. We want to be out there against the best."

Lawes was substituted on 53 minutes in yesterday's draw, with the immediate inference that boss Gatland withdrew the 28-year-old to keep him fresh for Saturday.

Alun Wyn Jones and George Kruis started the first Test, with Maro Itoje joining the fray from the bench.

Kruis replaced Lawes against the Hurricanes, and the upshot could leave Gatland eyeing a second Test starting duo of Itoje and Lawes, with Henderson on the bench.

Asked if his early substitution yesterday represented a positive sign about Test match selection, Lawes replied: "I've no idea, we'll just see what happens.

"I went out and did everything I could. It's not up to me anymore.

"I played fairly well, and I'd be looking forward to it if I get a run-out at the weekend.

"I never like getting subbed off. I wanted to stay on, the game was tightening up; it was a tough game. I am feeling confident if I do get called up.

"I'll lay it on the line like I always do."

Asked if he can take a boost from Gatland admitting he had given him a tough selection call, Lawes said: "Yeah, of course I'm chuffed to hear that.

"You always want to be pushing for spots. Iain Henderson had an awesome game and I was able to have a good game too.

"You always want to make coach's life harder than it should be.

"I'll do all I can over next couple of days to make sure I'm in the best nick for the weekend."

Belfast Telegraph


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