Wasps captain Joe Launchbury signs new contract with the club
Club captain and England lock Joe Launchbury has signed a new contract with Wasps.
The second row joined Wasps Academy in the 2009 season, made his Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers two years later and has since gone on to make 117 appearances in black and gold.
During that time, he has played a pivotal role in the club’s steady progress up the Aviva Premiership table, climbing from 11th to reach the play-offs in 2016 and the Final in 2017.
Launchbury has also been an instrumental part of Wasps’ progress to the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter and semi-finals during the last three seasons.
The 26-year-old succeeded Matt Mullan and James Haskell as Wasps’ skipper last season and ended his first campaign at the helm by leading the team out at Twickenham, then going within a few seconds of lifting the Premiership trophy.
The 6ft 6 lock forward’s outstanding club form quickly brought him to the attention of the England selectors. He made his international debut against Fiji in the 2012 Autumn Internationals, going on to be named the 2012 Player of the Series, and then started all five fixtures of England’s Six Nations campaign. He was also part of England’s 2015/16 Six Nations Grand Slam winning squad.
Launchbury has won 47 caps for his country and was man of the match during England’s recent Autumn series win over Australia, his fifth award in the Eddie Jones era.
The Wasps’ director of rugby, Dai Young, is understandably delighted that his captain has opted to sign a new deal with the club, saying: “We know a number of sides would have been keen for Joe to join them and it is a mark of his loyalty and belief in the squad we are assembling that he has put pen to paper to sign on again with Wasps.
“Joe has been with us for a long time and has stuck through the tougher times here. He has also experienced more recent times when we’ve been much more competitive and hopefully he can be around when we go the next step and achieve some silverware, which he deserves.
“During the time Joe has been with us, he’s developed from a club player into an international player and I believe he is now a world-class second row in his own right.
“He has grown with the added responsibility of the captaincy and he’s a really big part of everything we are about. Launchers will undoubtedly play an even bigger role in the next stage of our development, as we aim to continue competing at the top and try to get our hands on something over the next couple of seasons.
“It’s a well-known cliché that when you need people the stronger get stronger, and he certainly stood up when things weren’t going well at the beginning of the season, leading from the front in every game and setting the benchmark in training.
“It was a new experience for some of the players and staff who hadn’t been through that kind of run. Joe had experience of some of the darker days, didn’t panic and provided a real example of what’s needed not only to be a world-class player but also a world-class leader. We are really lucky to have him on board.”
Speaking about his contract extension, Joe Launchbury said: “I am delighted to sign a new contract to stay at Wasps. It’s a place my family and I have come to call home over the past seven years and I’m really pleased to sign on again for a bit longer at the club, as we work hard to fulfil the ambitions we have as a squad.
“Over the past few weeks, it has been great to see a number of players signing new contracts, enabling the club to retain quality players in what is already a fantastic squad. That reflects the belief we have in Dai [Young] and in our squad, that together we can build on the progress we’ve made over the past few seasons and take our game to the next level. I really want to play my part in that moving forward.
“We’ve had our disappointments, but I feel over the past few years we’ve really shown our potential on both the European and domestic scene. I truly believe we can fulfil that potential over the coming years and really want to be part of that.”
Launchbury joins Elliot Daly, Tom Cruse, Ashley Johnson, Rob Miller and Alex Rieder in announcing contract extensions with Wasps in recent weeks.
Wasps are next in action in a European Champions Cup double-header against La Rochelle, with the next game at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 17th December 13:00 KO. Get your tickets now at wasps.co.uk/tickets