The Rugby Club: Can Courtney Lawes dominate the lineout for England?

Last Updated: 14/03/14 11:30am

England's lineout has become a key weapon for them recently and Courtney Lawes has stepped up to take control of the aerial battle.

He has won and stolen more lineout ball that any other player in this season's Six Nations, and Wales legend Scott Quinnell says his lineout calls will play a key part in England's attack against Wales on Sunday.

"I have been very impressed by him [Lawes]," the former Wales No 8 told Rugby Club. "He has really developed over the last few years - he does not give the errors away and is a lot more disciplined.

"I think this year has typified how much he has taken control of his game and he has now been been given the responsibility of running the lineouts. I had to do it and it is about understanding where the space is.

"The lineout is like a game of chess. You need to take a step back and have a controlled head."

Scott Quinnell

"The lineout is like a game of chess; you need to take a step back and have a controlled head.

"There will be one area that is free and it is about picking that area. That is why the best lineout forwards have that wonderful vision and can open it up in a split second.

"Wales will be looking to get back ball lineout - they will be looking to get it over the top for Rhys Webb to get it so he can give it to Jamie Roberts and get him over the gain line.

"Everyone thinks about stopping the lineout - you are not stopping the lineout, you are stopping what happens from the lineout - that is what is important."

Test

Dewi Morris has also been impressed with Lawes and says the added responsibility has seen him blossom as a player.

"We were talking about the pressure Lawes had on him," he said. "With Tom Croft being out and Geoff Parling being out, how would calling the lineouts affect his game? For me, his game has gone up another level.

Will Greenwood added: "Lawes has gone up against Paul O'Connell and had a great game - O'Connell is one of the great lineout men and Lawes has come through that test.

"We always talk about units and Lawes talked about having Tom Wood and Dylan Hartley.

"England are playing a little bit more expansive football because they are using a Harlequins style behind the scrum with Danny Care, Mike Brown and with Chris Robshaw offloading.

"England are developing three or four forwards who are working together in key areas that allow them to be very strong - and the lineout is one of them."