25th Sep, 2018

Wasps star Joe Launchbury tipped for British & Irish Lions place in New Zealand

RUGBY UNION: WASPS star Joe Launchbury should be a key tourist for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand later this year – according to Tom Youngs.

The 2013 Lions hooker has had to watch on from the sidelines as England have turned a corner under Eddie Jones – winning back-to-back 6 Nations crowns.

Not since the 2015 Rugby World Cup has Youngs played for his country but that has not stopped him from watching on with interest.

And he has seen Launchbury, his team-mate during that ill-fated World Cup on home soil, become a key cog for the Red Rose.

The Wasps lock won the man-of-the-match award in two of England’s five games in this year’s Championship to catapult himself into Lions contention.

But the second row is an area of real strength for Warren Gatland to pick from this year, with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Jonny Gray and compatriots Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes all in contention.

But Youngs – who appeared in all three Tests of that historic 2-1 series win over the Wallabies four years ago – is in no doubt that Launchbury should tour.

“Warren Gatland will have some selection headaches after some great Six Nations games, which is great for him and great for the British and Irish Lions,” said Youngs.

“I thought Joe Launchbury was outstanding and Owen Farrell as well, they’re the two guys I thought were brilliant..

“There are some headaches for Warren Gatland because some guys really put their hands up.

“Joe is always there, he’s always there making tackles. He plays the game well, he’s a good rugby player.

“His workrate was outstanding and he didn’t make a mistake in the tournament. He went out, did his job and did it very well.

“It’s nice when you play with people like that, who you know are going to do their job and you don’t have to worry about them.”

Tom Youngs was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, the Official Vehicle Partner of Premiership Rugby. Land Rover has a heritage in supporting rugby at all levels, from grassroots to elite. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal

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