Lawes will skipper England in their World Cup opener at Stade Velodrome here in Marseille.
The 34-year-old had the honour of leading England at Twickenham on the occasion of his 100th cap — only for Steve Borthwick’s side to slip to a first defeat by Fiji.
Lawes’s unflappable demeanour understandably deserted him after that loss. He cut a dejected figure in the hours which followed, but now his team-mates are itching to make up for what proved a day to forget.
Lawes’s long-term Northampton team-mates Lewis Ludlam and David Ribbans cannot wait for the chance to square up to Argentina.
“We didn’t do Courtney justice in that Fiji game,” said flanker Ludlam. “It was a massive day for him, 100 caps is such a huge achievement.
“Courtney’s a player that we have all looked up to for such a long time. He’s a real leader, he’s always so calm through the week, and that’s definitely something we can all learn from.
“But then, when it comes towards the match, he always switches fully in. He’s a serious role model.”
Alex Mitchell will start at scrum-half in what must represent Borthwick’s punchiest selection call in his short England tenure.
The Northampton half-back was overlooked by Borthwick for the original World Cup 33-man squad, only to be drafted back in after Jack Van Poortvliet’s ankle injury.
Mitchell has now leapfrogged Danny Care and Ben Youngs to start the pivotal Pool D opener. The 26-year-old has just six caps, in contrast to Harlequin Care’s 90 appearances and Leicester stalwart Youngs’s record haul of 124.
Mitchell vastly accelerated England’s tempo despite that loss to Fiji, and Borthwick has tasked him with supercharging the Red Rose side’s phase play this weekend.
Lawes will captain England in Owen Farrell’s absence through suspension, starting at blindside flanker to add power and set-piece acumen to the back row.
Ribbans has spent the last six years alongside Lawes at Saints, but will join Toulon after the World Cup. “It was a disappointing day for everyone against Fiji, we all felt we let Courtney down,” he said.
“But he is an amazing character and leader. He has done that week in, week out for Saints. It’s the same when it comes to England.”