Launchbury proud as 50 caps approaches

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England lock Joe Launchbury says it will be a hugely proud moment for him and his family if he reaches the 50-cap mark this weekend against Scotland.

The forward has started England's opening two NatWest 6 Nations games this year to reach 49 appearances for his country, and is widely expected to reach the half century in Edinburgh on Saturday.

“It’s something that has really crept up on me," said the 26-year-old.

“International games seem to come thick and fast and I never thought for one moment I would get 50 caps.

“If the opportunity arises for me against Scotland that would be a fantastic achievement and one that I know will make my family very proud.

Reflecting on his debut, Launchbury added: “Mako and I were talking about it the other night as we made our debut together and we’ve both been in and around the team since then.

“We’ve had some great moments together in an England shirt and hopefully there'll be a few more to come.”

A good gamble

Launchbury produced one of the stand-out moments of the NatWest 6 Nations so far with his stunning offload to set up England's second try against Wales.

So has the Wasps captain been putting in the hours on the training pitch to pull it off?

“I’ve definitely not been working on it,” he says with a wry smile.

"There was an advantage so that was probably my excuse for chucking it in the first place.

“I felt I knew there were a couple of people inside who were available, I didn’t exactly know who they were, but I felt it was a gamble to take with the advantage and fortunately it came off.

“I like to try and carry as much as I can for this team, I feel we have quite a lot of license as tight five forwards to get involved, especially off nine, and carry the ball and try to get the team on the front foot. I really enjoy that side of the game."

Scotland challenge 

England travel to Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday as they look to make it three wins from three in the defence of their title.

In their last meeting, Eddie Jones' men produced a sublime performance at Twickenham Stadium in a 61-21 win in 2017. 

“I expect a stern test and a strong Scottish side whether that is a backlash or just the standard of this competition," said Launchbury.

“We don’t expect anyone to have an off day and for us it’s important to keep improving.

“We’ve got two results but we’ve still got a lot of improving to make."