STATEMENT: Courtney Lawes ends transfer speculation - Ruck

STATEMENT: Courtney Lawes ends transfer speculation

Northampton Saints have today confirmed that Courtney Lawes has signed a new contract which sees the Club legend remain at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

The 34-year-old forward has made 263 appearances for Saints so far. Since his debut back in 2007, Lawes has won a series of trophies and been one of Northampton, England and the British & Irish Lions’ outstanding performers – solidifying his status as one of the Club’s greatest players of all time.

Raised just a stone’s throw from the Gardens, Lawes initially rose through Saints’ Academy ranks and broke into the first team in time to help Northampton win promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

Lawes lifted both the European Challenge Cup in 2009 and the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2010 with Saints, before a Heineken Champions Cup Final followed in 2011.

He was then instrumental in Northampton’s greatest season to date in 2014, with the side claiming their first ever Premiership title and a second Challenge Cup trophy within eight days of each other.

Lawes was voted the Club’s Player of the Season in 2019/20 by Saints supporters, and has since reached 250 appearances in the Black, Green and Gold jersey – his milestone coming against Ulster in January 2022.

“The Club means a lot to me personally, and I wanted to stay here – I especially didn’t want to leave at the end of a season where I’ve not played much, and I’ve not made as big a contribution as I would have wanted,” said Lawes.

“It wouldn’t have felt right to me to leave now, so I was really keen to continue at Saints for that reason, but also because it’s so important for us as a squad to continue to build on what we’ve done over the last few seasons.

“I feel like I can be a big help on that front, bringing plenty of experience and leadership to the group, and I believe that we have everything in place at Saints to win silverware in the near future.”

Courtney Lawes

“The Club’s supporters are very important to me as well. The team’s ability and potential on the field speaks for itself, but the fans are also special, and I want to keep on delivering what I can for them in a Saints shirt.”

Lawes has also been almost an ever-present for England since his international debut against Australia in 2009, representing his country at three World Cups (and helping the Red Rose reach the Final in 2019), and winning three Six Nations titles so far – including a first Grand Slam for 13 years in 2016.

He had the honour of captaining England throughout the 2021/22 season, and Lawes has also twice toured with the British & Irish Lions (in 2017 to New Zealand and 2021 to South Africa) earning five further Test caps in the process.

Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson, said: “We’re delighted Courtney has signed a new contract to stay at the Club. He’s an incredible player – one of the very best in the world whether he’s playing in the second row or flanker.

“His international experience with England and the Lions is almost unparalleled, but off the field he gives our group so much in terms of confidence and leadership.”

Phil Dowson, Director of Rugby

“As he’s got older, he’s really grown into that leadership role and has become a bit of a mentor for a lot of players within our squad, so he’s a class act and a good man.

“I’m sure a lot of clubs over in France and Japan would have been keen to see Courtney turn out for them over the next few years. I know our supporters will be thrilled that he has decided to stay in Northampton and remain a one-club man, as he’s one of the best to have ever worn Black, Green and Gold.

“I’m pleased Courtney sees the ambition within this group, and that he shares our belief that we have the quality and drive to challenge consistently for silverware over the coming years.

“On a personal level, he’s disappointed that this season due to injuries he’s not been able to contribute as much as he’d like. So, now he wants to show what he’s capable of week in, week out – which sits along our ambition as a squad to do the same.”

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#1. Tom Varndell

Oxford Harlequins welcomed the former premiership record try scorer who will take on a dual role combining his rugby management career with his exceptional rugby talent.

Varndell has agreed to assume the position of Head of Rugby at Oxford Brookes University, which has close links to Oxford Harlequins.

In addition to his management role, he will also become the Head of Community at the club, while still playing for the team.

Marcus Boswell, the student sport manager at Oxford Brookes had the following to say about their star capture;

“To secure someone of Tom’s calibre, as a coach and a mentor, is of great excitement for both our current and prospective students who are looking to play rugby union,

“It goes without saying that the relationship between Oxford Brookes and Oxford Quins continues to go from strength to strength, and this announcement is another indication of that.

“We will continue to work hard in all areas of our sporting delivery and wider area of activity together, and reap the successes both on and off the pitch for our student athletes.”