Launchbury urges England to be adaptable

Joe Launchbury says England must adapt their game plan against Los Pumas when the two sides meet again in three months time.

Eddie Jones’ men welcome Argentina to Twickenham Stadium for their Old Mutual Wealth Series opener on Saturday 11 November, and although Launchbury and co registered a series win over Los Pumas in June, the Wasps man warns England must avoid being predictable.

“It’s really exciting to play Argentina again and it makes it a battle of the game plan,” he said.

“Having played them twice in short succession, it’s important now to come up with something slightly different.”

Attainable goals 

Launchbury was part of the 37-man England training squad that convened at the Lensbury Hotel in Teddington last weekend for a three-day pre-season camp, and the 26-year-old explains it was a good opportunity to catch up with coaches and teammates alike, and set some goals for the upcoming season.

“We’re now two years into this cycle, and we can’t stand still,” he said.

“We’ve talked about how we can improve individually to make the team better, and what this camp has given us is some pretty clear objectives, so we can go back to our clubs and integrate it into our game, whether that’s through training or games.”

Silver lining summer

Launchbury missed out on selection for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the summer, but played an integral part in England’s 2-0 series win over Argentina.

The lock started both Tests on tour, and admits he was pleased with how a young side - featuring 11 debutants - was able to deliver results in a partisan environment.

His experience and leadership on the pitch was valued just as much off it among the younger players, including fellow lock Nick Isiekwe, a player Launchbury was particularly impressed by. "It was important for me to play at the level I knew I could."

"He's brought a load of energy," said Launchbury of the Saracen. "What he lacks in experience he makes up for in being a good athlete, and being around the international environment is only going to help him."

Reflecting on the summer, Launchbury explains his delight in earning more international caps - taking his personal tally to 44 - and says he was happy with his performances.

“It was important for me to play at the level, get my hands on the ball a bit more and carry. I managed to do that across the two Tests which was pleasing for me."

He added: “Every time you play, you know you’re being watched, you know your performance is being assessed and Eddie always says he wants us to go back to our clubs and play like an England player.

"I think that is massively important for us because we can’t just dip in and out of this, we have to stay like this as long as we can, keep improving and keep on pushing each other.”

Moving forward

A handful of England's British & Irish Lions reunited with the national team last weekend and Launchbury is confident lessons can be learnt from their drawn series with New Zealand.

"It shows you can go there and perform. They are the number one team in the world for a reason but that doesn’t mean by any stretch that they’re unbeatable, or that you can’t have your moments in games against them, because they do make mistakes," he added.

"So lots of things to take from it, but for us as an England team it's what we have ahead in November that matters, and that doesn’t involve NZ, it involves three quality sides that we have to prepare for."