England’s Joe Launchbury determined to end season on winning note in Argentina

England out to show they are not on holiday mode yet

England player Joe Launchbury looking for a 2-0 series  win over Argetnina

England player Joe Launchbury looking for a 2-0 series win over Argetnina


Joe Launchbury has exceeded his own expectations during a remarkable season and he is determined to sign off on a victorious note as England hunt a 2-0 Test series win against Argentina.

This time last year, Launchbury was training on his own at Wasps, recovering from the knee injury which had forced him home just days into England’s tour of South Africa.

Fast forward 12 months and the Wasps lock is England’s player of the year, the owner of a Land Rover he cannot even drive yet and on the brink of winning his 11th Test cap in Buenos Aires. A month off, a spot of village cricket and some driving lessons beckon but Launchbury warned the Pumas, beaten 32-3 in Salta last weekend, that neither he nor England are not on holiday mode yet.

“People may look at it and think we are winding down but we are not at all,” he said. “It is a massive challenge for us and we want to be the first England team to come out here and win a Test series with a clean sweep. We don’t want to go off on our holidays now on a sour note.”

“They are a very good forward pack and they have a lot to offer in that area, with their set piece and their physicality.

“They started to show in the second half last week what they can do. We understand that completely and we are going to have to raise our game up a couple of levels again in order to get the result we want.”

England will feature two changes for the second Test. Marland Yarde will make his debut on the left wing and Kyle Eastmond takes over at inside centre from Billy Twelvetrees.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s injury jinx shows no sign of going away as they embark on Mission Impossible against South Africa tomorrow.

The latest casualty is hooker Steve Lawrie, whose back injury has failed to respond to treatment, opening the way for Fraser Brown to potentially win a cap off the bench having played only 44 minutes of professional rugby.

Scotland’s interim head coach Scott Johnson was up front in admitting that they will try to get Scott Lawson, the starting hooker, to play the full 80 minutes, but if Brown does get on it would be a remarkable turnaround for the former under-20 captain whose career looked over two years ago when he was axed from the Edinburgh club academy at 22 after a neck operation.

Back on track
He has managed to get his career back on track and had just signed a full-time contract with Glasgow. Still, it shows the severity of Scotland’s front-row injury problems that he is probably no higher than seventh choice in his position yet could be about to win his first cap.

“You talk about his life, a farming boy, a tough boy,” said Johnson. “Tell you what, he is an impressive kid. It is a big ask, let’s not kid ourselves, there is something there, there is no doubt about that.

“That is the way it is and we can’t get away from that. Out of this, it might be the greatest learning curve we have got; necessity is the mother of invention.”

Today’s Fixtures: Japan
v Wales, 6am; New Zealand v France, 8.35am; Samoa v Italy, 2pm; South Africa v Scotland, 4.15; Argentina v England, 8.10