STATEMENT: Courtney Lawes 'won't let children play professional rugby' - Ruck

STATEMENT: Courtney Lawes ‘won’t let children play professional rugby’

Courtney Lawes has told the Rugby Football Union he will not let his sons play professional rugby in the current climate.

Having experienced several injuries throughout his remarkable career, the former England captain is worried about the possibility of his children enduring similar setbacks if they followed in his footsteps.

Lawes, who is a father to four kids, including twins Otto and Hugo, and Nelly and Teddy, has expressed his concerns to the governing body of the sport regarding the wage gap between rugby players and those in other sports.

We were in a meeting with the RFU the other day and I said: ‘Look, I’ve got three boys. I’d love them to play rugby. I really would,’ said Lawes.

“But at the minute how can I tell them to break their bodies for 15 to 20 years and then go and work, go back to another job afterwards when there’s so many other sports you can play professionally and never have to think about working again once you’re done?”

He added: “It is not easy to be a footballer and I’m not saying that by any degree that we should earn as much as footballers or anything like that.

“I’m just saying it’s a tough ask to do a career like this.

“I’ve got opportunities where I can go and do stuff that I want to do but there are boys that have done this for 15 years, play for the same club, played X amount of games, broke themselves and then they’re going to have to graft to make ends meet.

“So I think we just we just all want a place where the clubs are happy, we’re happy because we are being paid more, the fans are happy, there’s more money in the game and everyone is a bit happier and it is a better product essentially.”


“I wouldn’t lie to you. I don’t think that it’s perfect by any means in terms of PRL (Premiership Rugby) and the RFU and where the players sit,” said Lawes, who toured with the Lions in 2017 and 2021.

“I think there’s a lot of work to be done, especially if we want rugby to grow going forward. And I think that a lot of a lot of stuff needs to be sorted out if we want this to be a successful game and a game that we will want our kids to play when we’re older.

“But we’re nowhere near strikes as far as I’ve heard or anything like that. I think we’re relatively happy but we want what’s best for the game, and what we’ve got at the minute is not good enough.”

He added: “I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it just at the minute but just what I was saying earlier – where we’ve got some of our best English players going to go and play in France now, because there’s not enough money in the Prem.

“And that means that they won’t be eligible for England. So, something’s got to give, otherwise there won’t be an England team that’s any good. Hopefully the relevant parties can come together and we can get it on the right track. But it’s going to take some time.”

Foreign-born players in the 2023 Six Nations breakdown by country

Americas Rugby News have compiled their annual breakdown of foreign-born players taking part in the 2023 Six Nations.

We recommend that you head over there to see their detailed analysis of the squads along with a year-on-year comparison with the last couple of years.


#6. FRANCE – 4 players

Dany PrisoCameroonFranceLHResidency (2008)
Uini AtonioNew ZealandNew ZealandTHResidency (2014)Samoa u20
Paul WillemseSouth AfricaNamibiaLOResidency (2018)Namibia u18, South Africa u20
Émilien GailletonEnglandFranceCEParent

#5. ENGLAND – 5 players

Bevan RoddScotlandEnglandLHParent
Mako VunipolaNew ZealandEnglandLHResidency (2008)
David RibbansSouth AfricaSouth AfricaLOGrandparent
Marcus SmithPhilippinesEnglandFHParent
Manu TuilagiSamoaEnglandCEResidency (2007)
Marcus Smith of England warms up before the Autumn International Series match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham, London on 19 November 2022 (Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK)