- England lock Courtney Lawes 'gutted' to miss end of RBS 6 Nations
- Northampton Saints star aims for big finish to the season
Photo: Getty Images
Courtney Lawes is determined to win back his place in the England pack after the hulking lock became the forgotten man of the triumphant RBS 6 Nations campaign.
The 6’7” forward burst on to the international scene with a series of swashbuckling performances during the 2010 Investec Internationals, illuminated by his eye-catching offload for Chris Ashton’s memorable try against Australia.
But while the 22-year-old was nursing a knee injury at the start of 2011, Tom Palmer and Louis Deacon excelled in the second row and, to his frustration, Lawes could not regain a place in the match day 22.
With his Northampton Saints side gunning for silverware at the end of the season, Lawes is keenly motivated to impress with the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand just five months away.
"I was fit for the Scotland and Ireland games but didn't get picked and I was gutted about that," said Lawes, who was named 2010 Investec Internationals Man of the Series.
"I can use the rest of the season to show that I should be back in that [match day] squad.
"I've had a good rest – one that I didn't want – and now I can crack on and help Saints win some silverware. You get a lot of experience and confidence from playing international rugby.
"When you come back it always seems to be easier to do what you did before."
We've got depth and quality – Hartley
Photo: Getty Images
Meanwhile, Lawes’ captain at Franklin’s Gardens, England hooker Dylan Hartley, believes his side have the depth and quality in their squad to push further on in Europe.
Northampton face a Heineken Cup semi final with French giants Perpignan at stadium:mk on May 1, with the chance of a first European final since 2000 at stake.
"We've got a tough end to the season with the amount of games coming up and we'll have to use our squad," said Hartley.
"But we're in a good place at the moment. We've gone a step further than last year and that's a positive, but we can't be happy with that – we have to keep going."