Lawes signs three year deal with Northampton

Aviva Premiership Rugby Club Northampton Saints have announced that Courtney Lawes has signed a new deal with the club that will keep him at Franklin’s Gardens until at least 2015.

The 22-year-old lock forward has spent his entire career in the black, green and gold.

After making his first team debut against Esher in October 2007 he has gone on to rack up 86 appearances, earned winners medals in the 2009 European Challenge Cup and 2010 LV= Cup and played in two Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals and the 2011 Heineken Cup final.

Lawes has also been earmarked as one of England’s top young international prospects with 13 caps and a Rugby World Cup under his belt.

Renowned for his athletic prowess, ball handling skills and aggressive defence, Lawes has become a regular in a Saints pack recognised as one of the best in the country.

Lawes says that he had no hesitation in signing the new deal and that he believes that the best is yet to come from himself as a player and from the team as a whole. “It means a lot to sign a new contract with the Saints because I’ve grown up around here,” Lawes said.

“It’s good to sign on again and see myself with a future at the club. I enjoy playing here and working with the coaches and want to stay here for as long as I can.

“I think I’ve improved a lot as a player in recent years, which has all come from playing here and being coached here. The coaches keep us grounded off the field and I’ve still got a lot to learn from them on the field.

“Winning the LV= Cup and European Challenge Cup are obvious highlights, as was playing in the Heineken Cup final – even though we lost. Playing in front of a packed Franklin’s Gardens is really good, too. The fans are great here and really get behind us.”

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that the three-year deal was a massive statement of intent by both Lawes as a player and the Saints as a club.

“Securing the signatures of players like Courtney for three years is very important for us as we look to make the next step up as a club,” he said.

“We have been at the right end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and playing in the later stages of cup competitions in the past few years, but we want to be in the mix for the major pieces of silverware every year and to do that we need top players at Franklin’s Gardens.

“Courtney is still maturing and learning as a player, but he has shown even at just 22 years of age that he has all the things you need to succeed. He is still learning and we believe that he will continue to improve over the next few years. We’re certainly delighted that he will be doing so at Franklin’s Gardens.”

The news about Lawes’s signing comes in the same week as the Saints announced that three Senior Academy players had agreed contracts with the club, and Mallinder added that this showed that local talent was finding a home at Franklin’s Gardens.

“Having players like Courtney, Ben Nutley, Jamie Elliott and Mike Haywood coming through the Academy system into the first team squad shows that there is plenty of talent in the Northampton area,” he said.

“They are players who the supporters can identify with and who have grown up within the Saints culture. Of course you need to bring players into the squad sometimes, but it is very important that there is also a core group who are Saints through and through and representing the club.”

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