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Rugby ace gets timely boost

KEY MAN: Courtney Lawes could be pivotal to England's World Cup bid

COURTNEY LAWES’ seat on England’s rugby World Cup plane seems assured after a glowing endorsement from coach Martyn Johnson. The World Cup kicks off in New Zealand next month and Lawes would appear destined to be part of it.
“He’s probably the most athletic second-row I’ve seen in terms of his pace round the field,” said Johnson.

Just a few weeks ago fortnight ago Lawes, 22, was in hospital after taking a heavy blow in during a practice match. The injury was so bad it threatened his World Cup prospects.

However, he has now been given a clean bill of health and Johnson is quite clearly a fan of a player who plays his club rugby for Northampton Saints.

“He’s [Lawes] got a good level of aggression and intensity about him. Someone said to me that when he’s playing you can hear it. He’s got real line-speed defensively and can hit very hard.

“The tight, mauling game his club have asked him to do, he does very well. He’s a pretty instinctive player and is developing into an all-round second-row. He’s a young guy who’s played a few Tests [eight]. He’s getting better but let’s not start going down there.”

Lawes, who weighs in at 17st 6lbs, rocketed into his club’s senior side in January 2009 with a man-of-the-match display against Montpellier while still a member of the senior academy. His Premiership debut followed a fortnight later off the bench against Harlequins.

Lawes, who was educated at Moulton College, had toured Australia with England Under 18s in 2007, missed the 2008 under- 20 Six Nations Championship through injury but figured in the 2009 tournament before continuing to produce commanding performances at blind side flanker and lock in both the Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup.

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