Joe Launchbury is only 24 years old, and is already one of the greatest players to wear the black and gold of Wasps rugby.
The first name on the team sheet for both Wasps and England he is one of very few truly world class players in the Aviva Premiership at the moment.
Joe was educated at Christs Hospital – a private boarding school in Sussex. He showed an early aptitude for Rugby, captaining the school team before signing for the Harlequins academy aged 15. Quins did not offer him a professional contract, so Joe left and played for Worthing – A National League 2 (South) side. The coach there was former Wasp Will Green, who recognised Joe’s natural ability and recommended him to his old team. He played a few games for the A team, and shortly afterwards was offered a full time place in the Wasps Academy. He made his first appearance off the bench against his old club Harlequins in the LV cup scoring a try. His next game had him starting against Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership. He has been a fixture in the team ever since.
He was named Young Player, and Academy Player of the season that year, and later Premiership Young Player of the Season.
Joe Launchbury stands 6 foot 6 Inches tall (1.98m), and weighs in at 18st 8lbs (118Kg) and regularly plays at Lock for both Wasps and England, but is perfectly capable of switching to the back row if necessary.
He won his first senior international Cap off the bench against Fiji in the autumn internationals in 2012. He impressed enough that he started the next game against Australia, and also the following game where England recorded their first win over New Zealand since 2003. He went on to be voted as Man of the Series. After the following Six Nations Joe was named England Player of the year.
Joe Launchbury is well on his way to becoming a Wasps legend. His worst performances are still better than most, and his name has even been suggested as a future England Captain.
Whatever happens for Joe in the future it is safe to say his name will be remembered for many years to come within Wasps Rugby.