Joe Launchbury has played rugby at some of the biggest stadiums in the world but Roundstone Lane, the home of Worthing RFC, still holds a special place in his heart.
Worthing was where Joe’s development accelerated rapidly and where he stayed until departing for Wasps ahead of the 2009/10 season on the advice of former Wasps player Will Green.
Sharing in England's U20 Six Nations Grand Slam in March 2011 had been the forerunner to Joe's first full cap 20 months later, off the bench in an autumn international against Fiji at Twickenham in 2012.
His maiden start was against South Africa a fortnight later, followed by his substantial contribution to the win over New Zealand that saw him recognised as Player of the Series.
Joe had a two-year spell of playing in 22 of 25 Tests, starting 19 of them, including against Argentina in June 2013 and in the victory over Australia at Twickenham that autumn.
He stretched over for a maiden try against Argentina in November 2013 and added a second dot down against New Zealand seven days later.
Another distinction came in November 2016 with his two tries against Fiji. It was the first instance of an England second row bagging a brace since Simon Shaw did so in the 59-20 win over Canada in Vancouver in June 2001.
He appeared three times in helping England to an RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2016, before starting all five games as they defended their title 12 months later.
In the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, Joe played in all five of England’s games as the defending champions finished in fifth position, coming off the bench in the defeat to eventual Grand Slam winners Ireland in the final match at Twickenham.
Exeter-born, Joe was a late addition to the U20 squad in 2010-11 and was an Open University student in Sport Science which he combined with his initial season at Wasps.
He was man of the match when gaining his third U20 cap in the win over Ireland in 2011 – he was also England's Player of the Tournament at the Junior World Championship in Italy the following June.
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.
Joe first played rugby 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.
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.
Joe was named Wasps captain for the 2016/17 campaign and led them to the Aviva Premiership final in May 2017, also skippering the club in 2017/18.
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.
20 points - 4T
2012, Fj(R), A(R), SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W, Arg(1,2), A, Arg, NZ 2014 F, S, I, W, It, NZ (1,2,3) 2015 F, I(R) World Cup - Fj(R), W(R), A, U 2016 S, It(R), W(R), W, A(1R,2R,3R), SA 2017 F, W, It, S, I, Arg (1,2), Arg(R), A, Sam 2018 It, W, S, F, I(R), SA (2,3)
Last updated: 24 June 2018