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Joe Launchbury looks ahead to The Stinger

With less than three months until The Stinger at Twickenham Stadium, we caught up with Joe Launchbury to see what excites him most about this fixture.

The Stinger promises to be much more than just a game of rugby with a packed day of entertainment planned. It will be a day designed to bring together all ages to mark the special event with a diverse range of entertainment on and off the pitch.

Wasps and England lock Joe Launchbury may be no stranger to Twickenham Stadium but nevertheless he says he is thrilled to be visiting the iconic stadium alongside his Wasps teammates for this crucial game.

“I think this fixture is very important, it is a good chance for members of the squad to play at Twickenham which is a great motivator but ultimately it will also focus the mind at the end of the season and give us something to look forward to.”

“The group of games after the Amlin break and the Six Nations are very significant, especially for the way we shape our season, so to have a high profile game at Twickenham is very important for us. I played in the last St George’s Day game back in 2011 and I really enjoyed it. We played terribly on the day but I really enjoyed the occasion and, just like the London Double Header at the start of the season, it is great to have Twickenham as our home ground again for the day.”

The team has changed dramatically since the last St George’s Day with only a handful of players remaining from that fixture but Launchbury believes that it is the perfect time for this youthful Wasps side to prove that they have the ability to perform when it matters.

‘It is crucial that if we get to where we want to as a team and strive for the things we want to strive for, then playing on stages like Twickenham, and playing well, are things we have got to master and get the hang of.”

“It is a great occasion and something very different to your usual fixture. We talk a lot about trying to make our home ground into a bit of a fortress and we really enjoy playing at Adams Park but to have one game a season where you make the home of English rugby your home ground for the day is a very special thing.”

With great affordable ticket prices and some exciting entertainment in the pipeline, Launchbury is hoping that there will be a packed and enthusiastic crowd at Twickenham to help bring the best out of both teams and create an unforgettable environment.

“We have already sold over 10,000 tickets which is great and hopefully, as the event gets closer, more people will get behind it because for us as players we are extremely excited about it. I watched the Harlequins big game and I saw the way that Quins played. The crowd and the occasion really got to them and they seemed to play really well off the back of it and that is something we really need to focus on. If I look back at my time with the Club and at the games I remember, they all tend to be games in front of a big crowd at Adams Park, so the crowd really is essential.”

“I think rugby is a great sport that allows families to go out for the day without worrying about anything happening. There is always a friendly atmosphere and Twickenham in particular is a great place to go, as you can be sure that there will always be plenty going on and it is easily accessible too.”

With this game featuring towards the end of the season, this fixture could prove vital to both teams and Launchbury believes that the playing styles of Wasps and Gloucester will create some thrilling entertainment for the crowd.

“I think Gloucester will be looking at this fixture in the same way as us and will be really excited by the challenge. They’ve got quality throughout their side and a very exciting backline that matches ours so we should see some great free-flowing rugby which will be very exciting for the crowd to watch!”

Wasps have recently announced their partnership with Sport Relief where £1 from every ticket sold to The Stinger will go to the Charity. Sport Relief will also be working alongside the Wasps Community Foundation to develop a project within the local community. For Launchbury, the chance to get involved behind the scenes is something the team will grasp wholeheartedly.

“It is great to be partnered with Sport Relief for this game. They are a great charity who do some great things and the team are already getting stuck in where they can, which is imperative if we want this fixture to be a success. In my time here at Wasps we have supported some very worthy charities and as a squad we will be completely behind Sport Relief and do our best to support it.”

With tickets starting from £10 be sure to secure yours now by visiting www.ticketmaster.co.uk or for full details on the event visit www.wasps.co.uk.

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