Lawes has ruled out a return to England, but he would be willing to play for the British & Irish Lions.
Although Courtney Lawes has retired from playing for England, he would still be willing to join the British & Irish Lions team in Australia in 2025 if requested. As a player for Northampton, he has participated in over 100 Tests for England, but he is not interested in being called upon by Steve Borthwick in case of any further injuries in the back row.
Lawes stated that if he somehow received another invitation to play for the Lions, he would likely accept it. However, considering the high number of talented backrowers in Great Britain and Ireland, he doubts he would be selected for the tour.
Lawes participated in the Lions’ tours to New Zealand in 2017 and South Africa in 2021, with the latter being impacted by the Covid pandemic. He expressed interest in joining a third tour to Australia in order to complete the set, despite it being two years away. He also mentioned potentially bringing his family along for the entire trip, but acknowledged that he may not be playing internationally at that time and could even potentially not be playing rugby at all. The future is uncertain and he will wait and see what happens.
His dedication to his family would prevent him from representing England once more. When informed of the current lack of players in his position, he laughed.
“I consider myself fortunate that we are facing a back-row emergency while I am in good physical condition,” he stated. “Usually, I am part of the back-row crisis, but this time I would need to be called upon first.”
I am finished, to be honest. I did not quit playing on the international level because I believed I was unable to play or make the team. I stopped playing because I needed to be present for my young children, and that has not changed. While the players in the back row may have changed, my reasons for not playing remain the same.
Lawes has three children – a 10-year-old, an eight-year-old, and twins who are almost six years old. Due to his international career of 105 caps, he has limited availability to assist in their upbringing. He acknowledges his wife’s exceptional efforts during the World Cup and recognizes the importance of being present to properly raise his children.
“I have a special connection to playing for England, but the constant cycle of being home for two months and then away for two months makes it difficult to establish a stable routine for myself and my children. The Lions tour only happens once every four years, and it is a unique experience.”
In addition, the 34-year-old Lawes is undecided about his future plans. He may choose to sign another contract once his current one with Northampton expires this season, or he may not. “I haven’t made a decision yet,” he stated.
“We will have a brief pause during the Six Nations and a significant amount of rugby ahead of us until then. I am curious to assess the state of my body and my mental well-being. By that time, we may receive offers and other opportunities. If I decide I no longer want to continue, I will retire.”