Launchbury leads the way
England and London Wasps lock Joe Launchbury was on Friday named England’s Man of the Series following the end-of-year internationals.
Launchbury was voted the winner by a public online vote, having been shortlisted alongside England captain Chris Robshaw, Geoff Parling and Alex Goode. Launchbury, who played in all four matches, received 42% of the votes, his second row partner Parling (23%), Robshaw 21% and Goode 14%.
Launchbury, a former England Under-20 international, made his senior team debut against Fiji, coming off the bench after 50 minutes.
He followed that up with another substitute appearance against Australia before being handed his first Test start against South Africa. He kept the starting shirt for the final game against New Zealand and played a crucial role in the 38-21 win.
“To win this award is massively humbling and I’m grateful to everyone who voted – to be honest I was shocked to even be shortlisted,” said Launchbury.
“It’s been an amazing month for me, to make my debut in that first international against Fiji was a massive honour – and at the time the biggest achievement of my career – but as the weeks went by I felt like I grew in confidence and for it all to culminate in that amazing win against New Zealand topped it all off.
“As Tom Wood said after the New Zealand game, although he won man of the match, any number of players could have taken the award, and that’s exactly how I feel picking up this award. You’re only as good as the 14 players around you and even when our backs were against the wall we stuck together.”
London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “We’re delighted for Joe and this tops off a great month for him. I’ve said for a long time that Joe isn’t a star in the making – he’s already here, and he’s only going to get better.
“How well he has done in his first few caps will serve as a real inspiration to any young guys out there that no matter how old you are, if you work hard and keep your head down you’ll get your chance. He’s got his and he’s taken it."