Citing of Lawes will not affect England tactics

Nick Easter,insisted England will never take a backward step on the field, despite Courtney Lawes’s aggression placing his Rugby World Cup future in doubt.

Lawes has been cited for allegedly striking Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma with his knee in Saturday’s 13-9 victory, an offence which carries a guideline suspension of between three and 12 weeks.

If judicial officer Terry Willis, from Australia, finds Lawes guilty early this morning and decides his offence is of medium or high severity then the Northampton lock could miss the rest of the tournament.

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The low entry level is three weeks, which could be reduced for mitigating circumstances.

Lawes will attend the hearing in Auckland, which is due to start at 3am UK time, where he will be represented by England’s legal expert Richard Smith QC.

No citing was brought on the Argentina player James Haskell appeared to accuse of eye-gouging after a scuffle in the closing moments of the game.

Easter was on hand to break up that scrap and he vowed the unity in England’s squad means the players all have each others’ back.

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“You can’t take a step back in rugby. If you take a step back you have lost,” said Easter. “It’s a physical game. If you are not up for it physically you’ll get found out.

“We look after each other. This is a very close group of players. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t going to do that automatically.”

Easter believes the resolve they showed against the defiant Pumas will hold them in good stead for the rest of the World Cup.

“Argentina are a tough side, we won. With 20 minutes to go we weren’t winning,” said Easter.

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“I was thinking: ‘When I jump off that 134-metre bungee jump on Monday is it going to be good thoughts of training the next day or bad?’

“But you can’t allow yourself to think in a panic mode. We have been together a long time and we had faith in each other to come through with the right result.

“It showed the character of the squad. That will only improve the great resolve there already is throughout the team.

“If we get in that position again we will have the confidence to close the game out.”

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The England squad return to full training today ahead of Sunday’s clash with Georgia after being given some time off to enjoy adventure sports in Queenstown.

Easter was one of those to go bungee-jumping while others enjoyed the jet-boating, helicopter rides and clay pigeon shooting.

“It is important when you are on tour to explore the country you are in,” said Easter. “The guys are excited to come to a place like this but rugby is still our priority.”