James Crombie/INPHO Courtney Lawes on the charge for the Lions during this morning's draw with the Hurricanes.
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Courtney Lawes confident and ready after staking strong Test claim in Wellington
The English lock did his chances of facing the All Blacks no harm today against the Hurricanes.

HIS SECOND-HALF SUBSTITUTION during today’s game against the Hurricanes suggests that Courtney Lawes will have some involvement in this weekend’s clash with New Zealand, and the English lock insists he’ll be ready if called upon by British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

The injured Robbie Henshaw had to be replaced by Leigh Halfpenny in the 20th minute of this morning’s 31-31 draw, while Finn Russell temporarily deputised for Dan Biggar early in the second half while the Welsh out-half underwent a head injury assessment.

With those exceptions, Lawes was the only player to be called ashore by Gatland. The Northampton Saints man delivered a positive display in the second row alongside Ireland’s Iain Henderson, who was also impressive despite being sin-binned in the 66th minute for a tip-tackle on Jordi Barrett.

Afterwards, Gatland admitted that both Lawes and Henderson have given him food for thought ahead of Saturday’s second Test against the All Blacks back at the Westpac Stadium.

“Chuffed to hear that,” said Lawes, when made aware of Gatland’s comments. “You always want to be pushing for spots. Hendo 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.”

Should he be involved on Saturday against the world champions, Lawes is likely to come up against the formidable second-row partnership of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock. However, he’s confident it’s an area in which the Lions can compete.

“Of course you can contain them,” Lawes said. “You’ve just got to tackle them. You’ve got to spot the runners and make sure you’re in the right position to make a dominant hit.”

When asked if being substituted was a good sign for his Test hopes, Lawes said: “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 today. I’ll be looking forward to it if I get a run-out at the weekend.”

He added: “With Eddie [Jones, England head coach], we have a pretty hard regime and played some pretty tough tests. So I’m ready. It’ll be a quick game but that’s what we want. We want to be out there against the best.

“I am feeling confident if I do get called up. I’ll lay it on the line like I always do.”

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