Courtney Lawes proud of Northampton legacy as he prepares for final game

Courtney Lawes is proud of the one-club legacy he leaves behind at Northampton as he stands one victory away from a fitting end to his time in English rugby.

Lawes’ Saints career concludes with Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final against Bath at Twickenham, after which he will join ambitious French second division team Brive.

The 35-year-old former England captain made his Northampton debut in 2007 and has amassed 282 appearances, claiming his only previous Premiership winners medal in 2014.

One of the game’s most popular figures will head across The Channel content to have represented his home town since the start.

Courtney Lawes won his 105th and final England cap at the 2023 World Cup
Courtney Lawes won his 105th and final England cap at the 2023 World Cup (David Davies/PA)

“The fact I went from 0 to 100 England caps at one club is definitely something I’m really proud of. I really wanted to stay here that one extra season to do that,” said Lawes, who announced his international retirement after last autumn’s World Cup.

“I’ve been on two Lions tours and made 105 appearances for my country while I’m at the place I’ve grown up. That’s meant a lot to me and also the legacy you leave behind.

“I might not have reached the peaks of some players, but in terms of longevity I think I’d be up there.

“I’d like to be thought of as someone who dedicated themselves as thoroughly as they could to this place and a good servant to the club.”

Lawes’ last hurrah on these shores will be attended by a “bus full” of friends and family who are making the journey down from the East Midlands to support the only survivor from the XV that started the 2014 final.

Northampton are odds-on favourite to dispatch Bath in front of a sell-out 82,000 crowd and will count on the support of neutrals after lighting up the Premiership this season.

But win or lose, Lawes is reluctant for his Saints career to be defined by Saturdays’ result having been part of a talented side full of academy-produced England players who excel in attack.

“Winning the title would be incredible, but it would probably be the icing on the cake,” he said.

“All we can do is turn up and deliver the best performance we can deliver because finals are one of those things where you never know what’s going to happen.

“We’ve had a season where we’ve been top of the table pretty much the entire year and that’s such an incredible thing to do.

“The performances the boys have put in, the accolades we’ve generated, the way we’ve held ourselves and the kind of rugby we’ve played is enough for me.

“It doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it everything I have, but we’ve done ourselves proud regardless.”

Lawes has been one the outstanding England players of the last decade, but in a conviction that will please Brive and interest Lions boss Andy Farrell ahead of next year’s tour to Australia, he is still seeking improvement.

“I’ve achieved a bit in rugby but ultimately I’m not where I want to be and that’s what drives me,” he said.

“I feel like I can still be a better player than I am at the minute and as long as I feel like that, I’m going to continue to try to find that.”