|Weight||115kg (18st 1lb)|
Sharing in England's U20 Six Nations Grand Slam in March 2011 was the forerunner to Joe Launchbury's first England cap 20 months later, off the bench in the QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham.
His initial start was against South Africa a fortnight later, followed by his substantial contributions against Australia and to the epic win over New Zealand. He became the 2012 QBE Player of the Series, and was the top tackler in the France and Italy games this year with 15 and 16 respectively. Joe has started all of England’s past 12 matches, including the two Tests against Argentina last June and the 20-13 victory over Australia at Twickenham in November. He stretched over for a maiden try against Argentina the following week and added a second touchdown against New Zealand seven days later.
Being part of the U20 side's success had already brought extra special pleasure for Joe, who was man of the match when gaining his third cap at that level in the 41-15 win over Ireland at Athlone that also clinched the 2011 title. He said: "It is the one and only competition that I have won and that includes my schooldays."
To that, Joe swiftly added the accolade of the England Player of the Tournament voted by his teammates at the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy the following June. He started every match and excelled throughout but in the summer of 2012, he was ruled out of England’s senior tour through a knee injury sustained in training.
He flew to South Africa with the party but did not recover sufficiently to remain there and was replaced by Jamie Gibson, the London Irish flanker. Exeter-born, he was a late addition to the U20 squad in 2010-11, and is an Open University student in Sport Science, which he combined with his initial season at London Wasps. His previous academy experience was with Harlequins from the age of 15 to 17 and he added to his rugby acumen with a loan spell at Rosslyn Park, of National One.
Joe first played when seven years old at Exmouth and while at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, he captained the first XV and benefited from the guidance of his mentor Richard Baker. James Wade, the high-performance manager at Wasps, has since taken over that mantle.
His representative honours include Sussex U15-U18, London & South East U16 and U18 and he scored two tries for England U18 on his debut against Japan High Schools at Brickfields, Plymouth in March 2009. That match was part of the preparations for the AER (Association Europeenne de Rugby) in France during which he played three games as England finished runners-up to the hosts.
An 80-minute appearance on his Aviva Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in February 2011 led to six more matches before the end of that season. He played throughout the final three games.
He has switched between the second and back rows during his playing days and, while growing up, the luminaries he admired were Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio. His favourite ground is Roundstone Lane, the home of Worthing RFC, for whom he has also played and his hobbies are films and music.
10 points - 2T
2012, Fj(R), A(R), SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W, Arg(1,2), A, Arg, NZ
Last updated: November 11, 2013