Rugby World Cup 2019: Courtney Lawes motivated by 'Michael Laws' confusion during past NZ tour

England lock Courtney Lawes holds a personal grudge against the All Blacks, which is motivating him to end New Zealand's reign as champions in their World Cup semi-final on Saturday. 

Four years ago, during an England tour of New Zealand, All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick was asked to name members of the touring squad and replied "Michael Laws", confusing the England lock with the former Mayor of Whanganui. 

Lawes hasn't forgotten that moment and claims the All Blacks will be able to fully identify England's players by the end of their Yokohama encounter.

"If they don't know, then they will tomorrow," vowed Lawes. "It's just one of those things, mate!

"We will just get on with it, we're excited. None of us have played in a semi-final before, it's a challenge, but we're very excited to get out there."

Retallick was reminded of the incident earlier this week and reacted furiously: "Is that supposed to be humorous?

"I made a mistake, called them the wrong name, the name of a New Zealand politician. 

"We have great respect for all the rugby players out there. We know who they are and we know what they're about.

"We look into every opponent going into the weekend." 

Rugby World Cup 2019: Courtney Lawes motivated by 'Michael Laws' confusion during past NZ tour
Rugby World Cup 2019: Courtney Lawes motivated by 'Michael Laws' confusion during past NZ tour

The match is arguably England's biggest since the 2007 World Cup final, when they lost to South Africa. 

While New Zealand have won the last six meetings between the two nations, four of those games have been decided by five points or fewer, including last year's match, which the All Blacks won 16-15. 

"It was a tough test, a close one," said Lawes, who came off the bench in their last clash. "We took great confidence from it, confidence that we're certainly going to take into the game."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 9pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v England Rugby World Cup semi-final.

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