- Joe Launchbury, 21, voted as QBE Man of the Series by fans
- "You're only as good as the 14 players around you" – Launchbury
Photo: Getty Images
England and London Wasps lock Joe Launchbury has been named QBE Man of the Series after a series of outstanding performances following his Test debut in the inaugural QBE Internationals.
The 21-year-old was up against captain Chris Robshaw, full back Alex Goode and lock Geoff Parling and received 42 per cent of the thousands of votes on www.qberugby.com.
Launchbury, a former England Under 20 international, made his senior debut in the opening QBE International against Fiji, coming off the bench after 50 minutes.
He followed that up with another substitute appearance against Australia, demonstrating his impact by snaring five line outs in his 27 minutes on the field, before being handed his first Test start against South Africa.
He showed his ability at this level against the Springboks, hitting 33 rucks, carrying the ball 10 carries, making 11 tackles (at 100 per cent) and plundering two turnovers before keeping the starting shirt for the final game against New Zealand and played a similarly crucial role in the 38-21 win.
Photo: Getty Images
Shocked and humbled to receive the endorsement of the fans, Launchbury said: “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.
"It’s been an amazing month for me, to make my debut in that first QBE 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, who has said the 21-year-old is the first name on his team sheet, added: “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.”
Richard Pryce, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, QBE European Operations, commented: “We are incredibly proud to announce Joe Launchbury as the fans QBE Man of the Series. Joe is an incredibly talented player and deserves recognition for his outstanding performances during the QBE Internationals."