England star makes miraculous return one week after season was thrown in doubt
By Rugby Onslaught

England star makes miraculous return one week after season was thrown in doubt

Just a matter of days after it was feared that England co captain Courtney Lawes would be out of the tour of Australia in July, the flanker has been named in Northampton Saints’ starting XV to take on Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership tomorrow evening at Franklin’s Gardens.

Lawes suffered a dislocated thumb against Gloucester in the Challenge Cup two weekends ago and missed Northampton’s win over Bath at the Rec on Saturday, which took them into the top four in the league, but Saints incoming director of rugby Phil Dowson said this week that the injury was not as bad as first feared, albeit still gruesome.

“The scan revealed there was nothing broken but obviously it was an open dislocation so he’s been stitched up with a number of stitches,” Dowson said.

“It’s pretty early days and there’s nothing broken. There’s ligament damage, tendon damage, bits and pieces like that… he looks a bit like Frankenstein’s Monster! So a weird injury, but he’s not too bad.”

This is a huge boost for the Saints, who will want to secure they place in the top four against third place and reigning champions Quins. A win could also take them within touching distance of tomorrow’s visitors with two games remaining after that against second place Saracens and eleventh place Newcastle.

This will obviously please Eddie Jones as well, as Lawes captained England in the Six Nations this year (when fit) in Owen Farrell’s absence and is one of the first names on the Australian’s team sheet.

Northampton Saints XV
15 George Furbank
14 Matt Proctor – 50th Saints appearance
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tommy Freeman
10 James Grayson
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Mike Haywood
3 Conor Carey
4 Alex Coles – 50th Premiership appearance
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

16 James Fish
17 Alex Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Aaron Hinkley – Club debut
21 Tom James
22 Piers Francis
23 Ollie Sleightholme