Thursday 19 January 2017

Launchbury happy to be the 'quiet team' in pool of death

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

Joe Launchbury of Wasps takes on Paddy McAllister during the Aviva Premiership match between Wasps and Gloucester at The Ricoh Arena
Joe Launchbury of Wasps takes on Paddy McAllister during the Aviva Premiership match between Wasps and Gloucester at The Ricoh Arena

One of the many long-lasting memories from England's World Cup exit at the pool stages will be a forlorn looking Joe Launchbury rather glumly accepting a man-of-the-match award against Australia that was given as a result of a public vote.

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It's not a memory that the abrasive second-row will look back on with any great fondness but now that he is back with Wasps, he is determined to banish it for good.

Launchbury's battle with Devin Toner will be one of the key areas at the RDS and make no mistake about it, his side are targeting an upset on Sunday.

"I guess we're probably the quiet team in the group, the team nobody's taking too much notice of and probably rightly so," he suggested.

"The track record of the other sides in the group is very powerful but we'll work as hard as we can to achieve as much as possible, but we're certainly looking for an upset this weekend.

"It's going to be tough but also brilliant. The European competition is a great product and it's nice to come out of the Premiership for a couple of weeks and play in these one-off big games.

"I'm sure this weekend is going to be a really tough challenge over in Dublin. We were beaten over there last year and they're a very high quality outfit with a lot of brilliant players.

"To then come back and play the reigning European champions on your home patch is something that this squad has worked really hard for over the last couple of years, to qualify for games like these."

Launchbury was heavily linked with a move away from Wasps last season with Saracens thought to be very interested in securing the services of the 24-year old.

However, having joined Wasps back in 2010, Launchbury feels as if there is unfinished business at the Ricoh Arena.

"Knowing that we would be playing in the European Cup was a big motivating reason behind me staying at the club," he admitted.

"I wanted to be part of a team that was playing in the top tournament and against the best sides, like we will be over the next fortnight.

"That's the best way for us to learn. As a young team, to go out and play against some of the best players in the world, is the only way we're going to get better.

"You have to go there and play in it to learn from your mistakes. We went over there last year, maybe not knowing what to expect. This season we will know a lot more about the challenge ahead of us.

"We've had quite a bit of change, not just on the pitch but in the coaching team as well, and that all takes a bit of time to bed in.

"I personally love playing in Ireland, I love the passion they have for the game and I'm sure this weekend will be no different."

Irish Independent

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