Sharks sure to be a tougher propo­si­tion

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

JOE Launch­bury in­sists he is en­joy­ing his rugby and ‘is in safe hands’ af­ter crit­i­cism that Eng­land stars were in dan­ger of suf­fer­ing from burnout.

Sir Clive Wood­ward was among the pun­dits who sug­gested some of Eng­land’s play­ers were run­ning on empty as Ed­die Jones’ side limped to a fifth­place fin­ish at the Six Na­tions.

While many of Ire­land’s Grand Slam stars were rested for Guin­ness Pro14 fix­tures the week af­ter the Six Na­tions, Eng­land’s aces were thrust straight back into Aviva Premier­ship ac­tion, in­clud­ing sec­ond-row Launch­bury who cap­tained Wasps in their 16-15 loss to Le­ices­ter Tigers a fort­night ago.

“A lot is made of the sea­son and a lot has been dis­cussed away from us as play­ers, that’s all in safe hands,” said the 26-year-old.

“For me as a player, at the mo­ment I am for­tu­nate that I am en­joy­ing an MUCH has changed since the sun­drenched Septem­ber day when Wasps kicked off the new sea­son with a 50-35 thump­ing of Sale Sharks, but they will be in for a much tougher test tonight than what Sharks of­fered at the Ri­coh Arena that day.

Dai Young’s men will be hop­ing to bounce back from the dis­ap­point­ing loss to ri­vals Le­ices­ter Tigers last week but will take heart from be­ing the Premier­ship’s top away side be­fore Ge­orge Ford’s boot con­demned them to de­feat.

There is, for once, some good news from the physio’s room, with El­liot Daly re­cov­er­ing from a dis­lo­cated fin­ger suf­fered at Welford Road and Tommy Tay­lor set to take a place on the bench for his first Premier­ship match of the sea­son.

But this still adds up to what could be an­other tough evening at the AJ Bell Sta­dium, a ground where Wasps have not won in their last eight vis­its.

Sale have had an in­con­sis­tent sea­son, with nine wins and nine losses in the top-flight, but have won their last two games. in­jury-free spell and I am out there on the pitch, en­joy­ing play­ing. That’s fun­da­men­tally what I want to do and what I am here to do.

“I can help as much as I can at the week­end, ob­vi­ously not be­ing in­volved in Europe we had a chance to freshen up. We knew the break was com­ing so it’s not re­ally been an is­sue.”

Launch­bury, who fea­tured in all five of Eng­land’s Six Na­tions games, was granted a week off along with his in­ter­na­tional team­mates James Haskell and El­liot Daly.

He took the op­por­tu­nity for a fam­ily break away to the United Arab Emi­rates and to recharge the bat­ter­ies af­ter suf­fer­ing four con­sec­u­tive de­feats for both club and coun­try.

The most re­cent of those came at Welford Road when Wasps failed to con­vert a se­ries of chances and lost by a sin­gle point as Ge­orge Ford kicked the Tigers into the play-off reck­on­ing.

“You’ve got to learn off the back of a loss,” said Launch­bury.

“It was very frus­trat­ing and dis­ap­point­ing. It felt like we were in con­trol for large parts of the game and it didn’t re­ally feel like we were go­ing to con­cede too many points.

“Ob­vi­ously they scored from a driv­ing maul again, apart from that, not too much.

“We re­ally needed an­other try to get ahead and I think if we had scored at any point in that sec­ond half, the game would’ve been over but we didn’t un­for­tu­nately.

“We kept them in the game, good sides like that can come back in and shows the strength of the Premier­ship re­ally.

“It’s frus­trat­ing, but hope­fully les­son learned in terms of how to close out games and how to get across the line.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.