Courtney Lawes Says England Will Hunt Down Rhys Patchell

Courtney Lawes has joined England coach Eddie Jones in trying to unsettle Rhys Patchell ahead of his Twickenham test of nerve.

England second row Lawes has weighed in to add to the doubts Jones expressed over Patchell in another move that appears designed to unsettle the Wales No.10.

Its success or otherwise will be seen on Saturday evening but it suggests England are more fixated on the opposition than at any time during three seasons in the Six Nations under Jones.

Lawes said: “Patchell’s a good player. He’s quick and he’s got some skills, but as a team we’ll put him under pressure and make it very difficult for him.”

Jones has already stoked the fires ahead of the game, accusing Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones of not respecting referees and questioning fly-half Patchell’s ‘bottle’.

Lawes has adopted the same feisty tone as his coach, saying: “We’re hunting Wales this week. It honestly doesn’t matter who is running down my channel or who is in front of me,

“I’m there to do my job and make an effective tackle. But I’m not going to fly out of the line and try to make a difference myself. That’s not what the team needs from me.

“We’re going to get off the line and hunt Wales as a team. We have prepared very diligently and we know their key men and the people we need to keep an eye on.

“They have great players throughout their team and it is on us to be able to contain them and put pressure back on them.”

Rhys Patchell. Pic: Getty Images.

None of this appears to have troubled Wales a great deal and centre Scott Williams prefers to think about a repeat of the 2012 win at Twickenham in which he played a decisive role.

Williams won the game that day with a 50m breakaway try that downed England on home turf during the 2012 Six Nations.

His 75th-minute touchdown secured Wales the Triple Crown and also underpinned a second Grand Slam of Warren Gatland’s coaching reign that arrived just three weeks later.

Wales were outsiders on that February afternoon, and the same will apply on Saturday, especially as England boast a 14-match unbeaten Six Nations home record since Williams weaved his magic.

“Another one of those memories would be nice,” said Williams, who was an integral part of Wales’ impressive 34-7 opening Six Nations victory over Scotland. “It’s a long time ago now, too long. It’s going to be a different challenge (on Saturday), but we have won there before.

“It’s definitely do-able, but we will have to be a step up again. We probably won’t get as many chances, so we need to make sure that we take them.”

Reflecting on the Scotland win, Williams said: “It’s a good way to start the tournament, and we showed some glimpses of some really good stuff.

“We left a couple of tries out there, if we are being harsh.

“I am lucky enough to have played in this competition a couple of times and know how important the first game is, making sure that we win. It’s a good start and something we can build on.

“We felt quite comfortable, making them kick the ball.”


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