Courtney Lawes is backed to succeed as England captain in Owen Farrell’s suspended absence at Rugby World Cup by Ben Youngs and Dan Cole
Ben Youngs and Dan Cole believe England have the perfect leader in Courtney Lawes going into the Rugby World Cup with captain Owen Farrell suspended.
Lawes will skipper England for their opening two matches at this year’s showpiece in France which begins against Argentina on Saturday night in Marseille (8pm kick-off) before facing Japan eight days later in Nice (8pm kick-off).
The 34-year-old’s role has been elevated due to the ban of Owen Farrell.
Farrell was slapped with a belated four-game ban for his high tackle on Wales back-rower Taine Basham last month – with the last half of those concluding with Argentina and Japan.
Lawes reached a century of caps for his country during the Red Rose’s final warm-up game against Fiji last month, which ended in a demoralising 22-30 home defeat at Twickenham.
Courtney Lawes has been backed to succeed as England captain amid Owen Farrell’s ban
England will be without usual captain Farrell for their first two games of the Rugby World Cup
England’s Rugby World Cup group matches
Argentina – September 9 (Marseille)
Japan – September 17 (Nice)
Chile – September 23 (Lille)
Samoa – October 7 (Lille)
It was the latest blow to head coach Steve Borthwick’s preparations but Youngs and Cole are adamant that Lawes can help inspire England to better days while Farrell is out.
‘He’s a great guy, I’ve known him since England Under 18s,’ scrum-half Youngs reflected to Mail Sport at the Wear the Rose event at the O2 Arena last month.
‘Myself, Jamie George, Joe Marler and Courtney have come through together so to see him get 100 caps given his amazing service to England and the amount of injuries he’s had to overcome is a credit to him.
‘He’s been an amazing servant and hugely physical player.
‘As a captain, he gives a real calming presence, he’s never flustered but he also leads by how he plays, putting his body on the line and being abrasive in how he plays. Leaders come in different ways and he’s very much a roll your sleeves up and lead by example.’
Cole was as equally as effusive in his praise, adding: ‘He’s brilliant and experienced. As a leader he leads from the front with his physicality, ball carrying and ability to provide front-foot ball.
‘He’s a smart player who has captained England before and I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.’
Scrum-half Ben Youngs hailed Lawes as a ‘real calming presence’ who is ‘never flustered’
Dan Cole (left) labelled Lawes a ‘smart player’ who ‘will do a fantastic job’ in Farrell’s absence
The duo spoke to Mail Sport at the Wear the Rose event at the O2 Arena, which Lawes attended
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