I’m a long way off
Rising England star Joe Launchbury feels next year’s British and Irish Lions tour to Australia will come too soon for him to realise his Lions dream.
The 21-year-old rode into the England squad in November on the back of his London Wasps form and was voted Man of the Series after his two starts and two bench appearances, including the victory over New Zealand.
Yet despite already being tipped for a place in the touring party, Launchbury, citing his inexperience at Test level, doesn’t believe a Lions call-up is in his immediate future.
“A lot of players talk about playing for the Lions as the pinnacle of their careers and that’s a massive aspiration of mine. Anyone who plays in the British Isles want to play for the British Lions and I’m no different,” Launchbury told the RFU Podcast.
“I’m not thinking of the tour at all; I’ve played four games for England and only started two so I’m a long way off and I got to improve vastly before then.”
Launchbury added that he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and won’t let his recent success go to his head after making such a strong start to his Test career.
“There are areas of everyone’s game they need to improve and I know that more than anyone so I am keeping my feet firmly grounded,” he said.
“My focus for the next month is Wasps. If I play well and keep my form going there is a chance I could be named [in the Elite Player Squad on January 9] but that’s over the next hill and we have got some climbing to do first.”
He went on to praise veterans Simon Shaw and Marco Wentzel for the influence they have had in his development as a top-class lock.
“Simon Shaw was massive for me as a young lock starting in professional rugby and we’re lucky enough to have Marco Wentzel who runs the line-out here [at Wasps].
“That’s an area of my game I know I need to improve and keep on improving and he’s a great help for that,” he said.