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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 3 April, 2020

Courtney lays down the Lawes

England’s man-of-the-match insists Eddie Jones’ plan to suffocate Johnny Sexton was vindicated.

Courtney Lawes charges at Devin Toner.
Courtney Lawes charges at Devin Toner.
Image: Billy Stickand/INPHO

IT WAS NO surprise to hear the Tyson Fury comparisons. Las Vegas may be as different to Twickenham as any place on earth but one similarity was evident, namely that when a bigger guy takes on someone smaller than him in a contact sport, the result is inevitable.

So it proved in Sunday morning in Nevada and Sunday afternoon in London. England had simply too much power over Ireland, just as Fury had over Wilder.

“Playing back at home for the first time in a while was a good motivator for us,” Lawes said afterwards. “We really wanted to get out of the blocks hard and take it to them. I’m not as big a fan of boxing as I am of UFC but fair play to Tyson. He’s a very good boxer for a big man.”

Physical dominance was not just Fury’s secret but England’s. “A lot of it is about preparation,” Lawes said.

We knew Ireland were going to come with a lot of confidence to our ground, coming off the back of two good wins. We physically dominated them last time so we knew they’d try and step that up. Because we were prepared, we knocked it up a bit so we could get that dominance over them.

“We came with a good strategy and that gives you confidence to go out and get them. Impose yourself. We did that really well.”

One of the other things they did well was to suffocate Johnny Sexton who had an unusually poor game.

“We put a lot of focus on defence this week and coming up both sides of the ball, out wide and if comes back inside making sure we are ready for that as well,” Lawes said. “It was really effective today. Any balls that went out the back of the pod shape we were able to get at and put pressure on.

maro-itoje-and-james-ryan Maro Itoje had an effective game yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Maro (Itoje) had a superb game. We obviously have very different styles but he does brilliant things for us. He gets so many turnovers and opportunities for us to get turnovers. If we can both get into a swing and make tackles together, it can be quite effective.”

Certainly Lawes was effective yesterday – after losing his place for the round two game against the Scots. 

He said: “I don’t think I went terribly against France. I was solid, got my hands on the ball a lot, made a lot of tackles. I was obviously disappointed to get dropped but was really happy to get on against Scotland, make some hits and then to get the start again this week.”

Next up for England is Wales.

“We have to improve again,” Lawes said.

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About the author:

Garry Doyle

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