Hackney star Courtney Lawes revels in debut England captaincy
- Credit: PA
Hackney’s Courtney Lawes says he was "honoured" to captain England for the first time at Twickenham last Saturday.
The hosts, donned in their new cherry red strip, kicked off their Autumn Nations Series campaign in bullish fashion with an overwhelming 69-3 victory over Tonga.
Saracens Maro Itoje scored one of the hosts' 11 tries as Eddie Jones’s side warmed up for a much sterner test against Australia this Saturday (November 13) for the Cook Cup.
The highlight of the match came in the 37th minute when flanker Lawes successfully prevented Tongan full-back Telusa Veainu from going over the tryline.
The 32-year-old, who plays his club rugby for Gallagher Premiership outfit Northampton Saints, described his spectacular try-saving moment.
“I saw the intercept then I started sprinted back,” he said. “I saw Freddie (Steward) who was going to make the tackle so I kept on going and luckily I was able to get there.
"The hard work really was done by Freddie to be honest but I’ll take the glory this time.”
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With Saracens regular England captain Owen Farrell missing out on Saturday’s game after a Covid test was later revealed to be a false positive, Lawes was handed the armband for the first time in his 88 caps for the Red Roses.
To lead his country out of Twickenham was a proud moment. “I’m very honoured to be captain England whenever I get the opportunity," Lawes said. “Obviously it’s a bit different leading the team and actually being the skipper.
“But I really enjoyed it and I thought it was great. I had a great group of lads and I didn’t really have much to do to be honest. I’m trying to lead by example and if there is anything needed to be said then saying it.”
The Wallabies will go into Twickenham looking to get back to winning ways after narrowly going down to Scotland 15-13 at Murrayfield on Sunday.
The focus now switches to the clash against Australia for England as they look to build on the resounding Tonga victory.