England legend Courtney Lawes confirms he could return to international rugby

2 months ago 5

Courtney Lawes has thrown his hat into the ring for the British & Irish Lions’ 2025 tour to Australia, despite calling time on his international rugby career following the recent World Cup.

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However, Lawes firmly shut down any speculation about reversing his retirement to bolster England’s back-row amid a growing injury crisis in the upcoming Six Nations.

The Northampton Saints legend concluded his England tenure with his 105th cap in a semi-final defeat to South Africa in Paris last month, citing a desire to prioritize family time with his wife and four young children.

Addressing the potential of a third Lions tour on Tuesday, Lawes, who played in all five Tests across New Zealand in 2017 and South Africa in 2021, expressed, “If I got another Lions call I would probably do that, yeah, yeah. I would get to complete the set, I have done two and doing Australia, which is one of my favourite places to tour, would be cool.”

Despite downplaying his chances for the 2025 Lions squad due to the wealth of back-row talent in Great Britain and Ireland, Lawes reflected on his surprise inclusion in the 2021 tour. He recalled being “pretty surprised” at making the squad, especially considering a lack of preliminary emails about his availability.

Nevertheless, Lawes started all three Tests at No 6 in South Africa after being a replacement flanker in the second and third Tests in New Zealand in 2017.

Looking ahead, Lawes, who would be 36 at the time of the first Test in Australia in July 2025, remains open to the possibility of another Lions adventure.

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15. Serge Blanco (France) 

The French icon’s international career with France saw the flamboyant fullback perform various outlandish levels of skill while winning Five Nation Grand Slams in 1981 and 1987 as well as four further titles.

Blanco was a threat from everywhere on the field and often took risks that we very rarely see nowadays. In total, he won 93 caps for France during his 11-year international career between 1980 and 1991, which was a record when he retired.

He also scored an imposing 233 points and is a true legend of the sport.

Did you know: Images of Blanco’s on-field heroics can always be viewed ironically alongside images of him strutting along the touchline nursing a cigarette.

Honourable mentions: JPR Williams (Wales), Jason Robinson (England), Percy Montgomery (South Africa)



14. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)

The New Zealander remains the joint all-time top try scorer at the Rugby World Cup along with Bryan Habana, crossing the whitewash on 15 different occasions across the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.

The easiest selection in a greatest ever XV.

Originally of Tongan descent, it was Lomu who made it glamorous to be a big, bruising winger, even though his stature could have easily seen him fill in at centre or somewhere in the pack.

Much like the Juggernaut of the Marvel Universe, there wasn’t much that could stop Lomu once he’d gotten into a stride.

Did you know: In September 2009, Lomu took part in an amateur bodybuilding contest, finishing second in two categories
Honourable mentions: Bryan Habana (South Africa), Doug Howlett (New Zealand), Shane Williams (Wales)

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) 

The former Ireland and British and Irish Lions Skipper Brian O’Driscoll was one of the most consistent performers in the world for over a decade.

He hung up his boots in 2014 after accumulating 133 caps for Ireland with a fantastic return of 245 points. In the emerald green, he triumphed in the Six Nations in 2009 (Grand Slam) and 2014 as well as being chosen as Player of the Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The Dublin-born is also the highest all-time Irish record try scorer with an incredible 46 scores, and also led his country more times than any other player.

Did you know: O’Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.

Honourable mentions: Jeremy Guscott (England), Will Greenwood (England), Frank Bunce (New Zealand)

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