Brilliant birthday present for Lawes
- Credit: PA
It turned out to be a brilliant 31st birthday for Hackney-born Courtney Lawes at Twickenham on Sunday, writes Ziad Chaudry.
England coach Eddie Jones gave Lawes a birthday present to cherish as he hailed his man of the match performance against Ireland as 'purely outstanding'.
The 31-year-old lock, making his 84th appearance in a Red Rose jersey, played an inspiring role in the home side's solid 24-12 victory over a battered Ireland outfit to keep their Guinness Six Nations title hopes well and truly alive.
Two moments of bizarre defensive errors near the dead-ball line by the visitors in the first half allowed George Ford and Saracens Elliot Daly to score identical tries.
The Irish, despite being under the cosh, rallied back, before Luke Cowan-Dickie went over to give the scoreline a commanding look.
Following the opening round defeat against France earlier in the month, Lawes was temporarily demoted to the bench against Scotland a week later.
But Jones re-introduced the towering six foot seven inch second row, who plays his club rugby for Northampton Saints, back into the starting line-up on Sunday and he repaid that faith with a superb display.
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"He (Lawes) was disappointed with his game against France," said Jones.
"He played a little bit against Scotland so he was ready to play well. We gave him a week off last week to freshen him up and he's come into camp and made a hell of a difference."
Lawes himself thought it was a job done well by the whole team, adding: "We really imposed ourselves today and we it was a really good victory."
England next face Wales, who incidentally went down 27-23 to current Six Nations leaders France last Saturday, on March 7 at RFU headquarters and Lawes is looking forward to the test.
"I'm very much looking forward to that," he added. "It's a couple of weeks away so we're not going to get too excited, too early, so we'll have a good couple of weeks prep leading to that."