HE might be in possession of an England shirt and just been named as the Aviva Premiership’s best young player – but Joe Launchbury is taking nothing for granted ahead of England’s summer tour to Argentina.
Lock Launchbury, who has previously played for Worthing Raiders, has enjoyed a memorable personal season. The 22-year-old was integral in helping Wasps forget last season’s woes as well as nailing down a spot for himself in Stuart Lancaster’s England squad, starting all five of this year’s Six Nations games.
And it all came to a head earlier this month as he walked away with the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award, presented to the best player aged 23 years or under on the day of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final.
Launchbury will have little time to celebrate, though, as he must now prepare for England’s trip to South America. He is one of four second rowers alongside Courtney Lawes, Ed Slater and Dave Attwood.
His normal partner-in-crime, Geoff Parling, will not be alongside him, instead set to don the famous red British & Irish Lions jersey Down Under as they battle Australia this summer.
But, despite being Lancaster’s go-to man since bursting on the scene in November, Launchbury is adamant he will not be counting his chickens before they have hatched, even in Parling’s absence.
He said: “This has been my first season in professional rugby when I have lasted the whole thing and not got injured, so to get recognised with the award is great.
“Playing all the time brings massive positives but also means you are playing week in, week out, although my body feels pretty good.
“I have just turned 22, so I can’t moan too much. Obviously, you want to play every week so it is good for that.
“It is an exciting time in English rugby to bring on some people and see how they get on in the environment when we take on Argentina.
“It is a great environment and I loved being a part of it this year, so I am excited to be back in myself and excited to see how the other young guys will thrive in it.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby final has sold out for the last five years. To snap up one of the remaining tickets go to ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 844 0444