England forward Courtney Lawes has been named the Aviva Premiership player of the month for September after playing a key role in four straight wins for Northampton.
Having spent the vast majority of his career playing in the second row for Saints and England Lawes, 28, was switched to blindside flanker by Jim Mallinder in September with devastating results.
Northampton won four out of five games in the month – beating Leicester, Bath, London Irish and Harlequins – and World Cup winner Will Greenwood praised Lawes for his influence.
‘Lawes has been unbelievable for Northampton Saints this season,’ said Greenwood.
‘Northampton tend to win when he is playing right now. He’s still awesome in the lineout but now able to run around and smash things on a far more regular basis from the back row… loving his new-found freedom at six.’
Lawes breaks through the challenges of two Gloucester players last weekend
He added: ‘Courtney’s ball-carrying has improved exponentially. He has great footwork and softer hands. He might well be England’s most improved player, and is certainly critical to Northampton playing well.’
Lawes pipped Northampton wing Tom Collins and Newcastle centre Juan Pablo Socino to the award, which was judged by a panel of experts.