Premiership Final: Lawes looking to bow out in style

Former England back-row Courtney Lawes is on the brink of bowing out of from Premiership Rugby with a winners medal when his Northampton Saints take on Bath Rugby at a sold-out Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 3pm). 

The 35-year-old, who joins French club Brive this summer, has made 282 appearances over 17 seasons for saints. 

And after narrowly defeating defending champions Saracens at home in the Premiership semi-finals last weekend, Northampton head in to this weekend’s showpiece as favourites. 

Speaking to BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly, Lawes says he will relish the occasion, adding: “With it being a high-pressured situation, you have to worry about enjoying it more than putting pressure on yourself.

“You want to really embrace the week as this is why you play rugby. These are the situations you want to be in and you want to be in these scenarios even though you have a mountain of pressure. 

“It’s perfect playing at a packed Twickenham. I couldn’t picture a better way to finish.”

Northampton last lifted the Premiership trophy 10 years ago when an extra time try by Alex Waller sparked jubilant scenes as they defeated Saracens 24-20. 

Lawes played in that game, and insists his side must stick to the principles that have got them to rugby HQ. 

“It’s just about going out there and doing what we’ve been doing all season,” said Lawes. 

“We have such a good team that is working well together and is so cohesive. We’ve grown throughout the season and proven to ourselves over and over again that we don’t need to have a 10/10 performance or do anything out of the ordinary.”

“You want to really embrace the week as this is why you play rugby. These are the situations you want to be in, you want to be in these scenarios even though you have a mountain of pressure.

“It’s perfect playing at a packed Twickenham. I couldn’t picture a better way to finish.”

Meanwhile, Saints’ opponents in the final – Bath, will be full of confidence following their thrilling 31-23 triumph over Sale Sharks at The Rec.  

Niall Annett’s 73rd minute try sealed a dramatic win for the West Country club as they made it through to their first final in nine years. 

The Somerset outfit were bottom of the league just two years ago, but will now bid to lift their first Premiership title since 1996. 

“When I signed here, I didn’t think I’d get to a final in the first season – so that’s brilliant, but we’ve not achieved our goal yet,” said Bath fly-half Finn Russell.   

“Our goal is to win the Premiership, so we’ve put ourselves in a great position to do that. 

“The work starts now, and we’ve got to perform better than we did during the win over Sale.”