Joe Launchbury

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Joe Launchbury
Joe Launchbury (cropped).png
Launchbury playing for London Wasps in 2012
Birth nameJoseph Oliver Launchbury
Date of birth (1991-04-12) 12 April 1991 (age 30)
Place of birthExeter, England
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight126 kg (19 st 12 lb; 278 lb)[1]
SchoolChrist's Hospital
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Current team Wasps
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Rosslyn Park (loan)
Correct as of 13 November 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
England U18
England U20
Correct as of 13 November 2020

Joseph Oliver Launchbury (born 12 April 1991) is an English rugby union lock who plays for Premiership side Wasps. He represents England at international level and previously played for the under-18s and under-20s before making his Test debut in 2012. Launchbury plays mainly in the second row but is also comfortable as a blindside flanker. His nickname in the England set up is "Launchers".

Launchbury is married to Mallory Bourn and they have two children, Blythe and Hayden.[citation needed]

Club career[edit]

Born in Exeter. He was introduced to rugby by his first coach - Shaun Parkin at Exmouth RFC. Launchbury was educated at Christ's Hospital in West Sussex where he captained the school rugby team. He played for Horsham and also represented Barns Green before joining the Harlequins Academy age 15.[2][3] After Harlequins failed to offer him a professional contract aged 18, he left the club and joined then National League 2 South side Worthing for the 2009–10 season.[4] His performances at Worthing under Will Green, then head coach and former Wasps player, saw him recommended to his former club once again under the stewardship of renowned coach Bobby Walsh.[5] He played in several A League matches for Wasps and, after a spell training with the Eastern Province Kings in South Africa,[6] did enough to be given a full-time contract from July 2010.[7]

He was named in Wasps' Academy squad for the 2010–11 season and also joined National League 1 side Rosslyn Park on loan to gain senior experience.[2][8][9] Having played the first half of the season for the A team and out on loan, Launchbury made his Wasps' debut on 30 January 2011 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup against Harlequins as a replacement, scoring a try in a 38–13 defeat.[10] His first Premiership appearance came the following month against Leicester Tigers and he remained a fixture in the side for the rest of the season.[11] In May 2011 he was named the club's Young Player and Academy Player of the Season and was rewarded with a new three-year contract.[12][13]

In 2011–12, his first full season with Wasps, Launchbury made 15 senior team appearances despite missing four months of the season after injuring his ankle in October.[14][15] He returned to the side in February as a replacement but went into the starting XV for the next game and was ever-present as Wasps retained their Premiership status. All but one of his appearances over the season were made as a blindside flanker despite playing in the second row for most of the previous year.[11]

He graduated from the Academy at the end of the season, moving up to the senior squad alongside several other England youth internationals.[16]

Launchbury extended his contract in November 2012, keeping him with Wasps until 2015.[17] He made 19 appearances during the campaign and was widely recognised for his performances, winning the November Player of the Month award and 2012–13 Premiership Young Player of the Season.[18][19][20] He was also nominated for the Rugby Players' Association Players' Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards,[21] missing out on both occasions to Wasps and England teammate Christian Wade,[22] and was among 15 players longlisted for ERC European Player of the Year.[23]

Ahead of the 2016/17 Aviva premiership campaign Launchbury was named captain of Wasps.

International career[edit]

Launchbury's first international experience came as part of the England under-18 side which finished runners-up in the 2009 European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship.[2] He moved up to the under-20s in 2011, making his debut as a replacement against Italy in the Under-20s Six Nations.[24] Despite not being included in the original squad he was elevated to the starting line-up for the following game and earned the Man of the Match award against Ireland as England won the Grand Slam.[25][26] He was selected for the Junior World Championship in June the same year and started every game as England reached the final, eventually losing 33–22 to New Zealand.[27] He was named England Player of the Tournament by his teammates.[2]

In 2012 he was called up to the senior squad for the tour of South Africa.[28] He played in the uncapped game against the Barbarians at Twickenham but an injury picked up in training forced him to return home.[29][30] The following month he was included in the Saxons squad and in November was called into the England training camp for the Autumn internationals as injury cover for Wasps teammate Tom Palmer.[31][32] He made his Test debut days later as a replacement against Fiji and was promoted to the starting line-up against Australia.[33] He retained his place for the match against New Zealand as England recorded their first win over the All Blacks since 2003.[34] After impressing in all four Autumn Tests, Launchbury was voted Man of the Series.[35]

He started in all five of England's Six Nations matches as they finished runners-up to Wales and was named England Player of the Year for 2012–13 in his first season as a senior international.[36] Several commentators backed him for a place in the British & Irish Lions squad for the 2013 tour to Australia but he was not selected.[37][38][39] Instead he travelled with England for the tour of Argentina, starting both Tests in a 2–0 series win.[24]

He retained his starting place for the 2013 Autumn internationals as England beat first Australia and then Argentina, a game in which he scored his first international try, grounding the ball after a rolling maul.[40][41] A second try followed against the All Blacks, although he was forced off after 46 minutes with a shoulder injury. England were unable to repeat the previous year's win, losing 30–22.[42] Launchbury was ever-present during the 2014 Six Nations, starting all five games including the match against Ireland in which he made 15 tackles and won three turnovers.[24][43] His partnership in the second row with Courtney Lawes, which began during the Autumn internationals,[44] was praised throughout the tournament as England finished runners-up for the second year in a row.[45][43][46]

Launchbury was among an initial group of 30 players selected for the three Test summer tour to New Zealand.[47] He started the first two games, in which England were defeated narrowly,.[24] He was dropped for the third Test but was restored to the starting line-up after Geoff Parling failed to overcome an injury sustained in the second game.[48] England lost the game 36–13, their heaviest defeat of the tour, as New Zealand took the series 3–0.[49]

Launchbury was named Man of the Match in two consecutive Six Nations games: against Wales and Italy. Launchbury was not selected to be a member of the British an Irish Lions Touring party to New Zealand, which was a controversial call following his success in the Six Nations. Many Rugby experts were left confused by Launchbury's shock omission from the Squad.

International tries[edit]

As of 7 July 2019 [50]
Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result Score
1  Argentina London, England Twickenham Stadium 2013 Autumn Internationals 9 November 2013 Win 31 – 12
2  New Zealand London, England Twickenham Stadium 2013 Autumn Internationals 16 November 2013 Loss 22 – 30
3  Fiji London, England Twickenham Stadium 2016 Autumn Internationals 19 November 2016 Win 58 – 15
5  Scotland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2019 Six Nations 16 March 2019 Draw 38 – 38


London Wasps
  • Academy Player of the Year: 2010–11[12]
  • Young Player of the Year: 2010–11[12]
  • Premiership Player of the Month: November 2012[18]
  • Premiership Young Player of the Season: 2012–13[19]


  1. ^ "Joe Launchbury".
  2. ^ a b c d e "Joe Launchbury profile". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Joe Launchbury keeps England place for Six Nations decider". West Sussex County Times. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  4. ^ Chadband, Ian (23 November 2012). "Joe Launchbury on a high after low of being rejected by Harlequins as a young player". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Episode 7 - with Joe Launchbury Christmas Cracker Special".
  6. ^ "England v South Africa: The remarkable rise of Joe Launchbury". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Joe Launchbury talks to". London Wasps. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Wasps announce 2010/11 Academy intake". London Wasps. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  9. ^ Fitzjohn, Simon (7 September 2010). "Flo eager to keep run going". Streatham Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Wasps come up short against Harlequins in Abu Dhabi". London Wasps. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Joe Launchbury". London Wasps. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "Launchbury commits his future to the club". London Wasps. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  13. ^ Feldberg, Alan (16 May 2011). "England U20 star commits to Wasps". Streatham Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  14. ^ "News from the treatment room". London Wasps. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Launchbury looking to make up for lost time". London Wasps. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  16. ^ "London Wasps announce Academy intake for 2012/13". London Wasps. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Joe Launchbury agrees new London Wasps deal". BBC Sport. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Launchbury named Aviva Premiership Player of the Month". London Wasps. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Launchbury named Discovery of the Season". London Wasps. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  20. ^ Lowe, Alex (14 June 2013). "Joe Launchbury: England will not take foot off the gas". The Independent. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Wasps feature strongly in RPA nominations". London Wasps. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  22. ^ "Wasps win big at RPA awards". London Wasps. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  23. ^ "Early contenders for ERC European Player of the Year named". European Rugby Cup. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  24. ^ a b c d "Joe Launchbury profile". It's Rugby. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Launchbury ready for Irish challenge". London Wasps. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  26. ^ a b Feldberg, Alan (23 March 2011). "Launchbury: I'd never won anything before the Grand Slam". Streatham Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  27. ^ a b "England 22–33 New Zealand". International Rugby Board. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  28. ^ "Danny Care recalled to England squad for South Africa tour". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  29. ^ "Chris Ashton back on song for England in victory over Barbarians". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  30. ^ "England coach Stuart Lancaster denies contact with Andy Farrell". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  31. ^ "James Haskell omitted from England's 32-man elite squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  32. ^ "Launchbury called up to England training". London Wasps. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  33. ^ Hamilton, Tom (10 November 2012). "Launchbury rise continues with England debut". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  34. ^ Rees, Paul (1 December 2012). "England's Barritt, Tuilagi and Ashton run stunned New Zealand ragged". The Observer. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  35. ^ a b "Launchbury named QBE Man of the Series". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  36. ^ a b "RPA Awards for Launchbury, Scarratt, Norton, Wade and Streather". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  37. ^ "Launchbury not a Lion yet". British & Irish Lions. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  38. ^ "Joe Launchbury: Former shelf-stacker is a potential Lions hero". Sky Sports. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  39. ^ "Lions 2013: Jonny Wilkinson out but Sam Warburton is captain". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  40. ^ Fordyce, Tom (2 November 2013). "England 20–13 Australia". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  41. ^ "England beat Argentina at home ahead of All Blacks test". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  42. ^ Rees, Paul (16 November 2013). "New Zealand's Julian Savea sees off battling England challenge". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  43. ^ a b Cleary, Mick (11 March 2014). "How Joe Launchbury became England's towering enforcer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  44. ^ "Joel Tomkins set for England debut but Geoff Parling out". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  45. ^ Westerby, John (1 February 2014). "Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes the locks to open doors". The Times. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  46. ^ Verdier, Nick (21 March 2014). "Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury are 'best in the world'". The Rugby Paper. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  47. ^ "Lancaster names initial 30-man NZ tour squad". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  48. ^ "Team change – Launchbury in for injured Parling". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  49. ^ Dirs, Ben (21 June 2014). "New Zealand beat England 36–13 to complete series whitewash". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  50. ^ "Joe Launchbury". 7 July 2019.

External links[edit]