Joe Launchbury: Wasps is the place for me

England forward reveals reasons for committing future to Coventry-bound Aviva Premiership club

England lock Joe Launchbury has revealed his delight at agreeing a new deal to remain with Wasps.

The 23-year-old, who joined the club from Worthing in 2009, has ended speculation about his future by committing to the Coventry-bound Aviva Premiership club despite a number of clubs reportedly interested in securing his services.

“I am really pleased to have extended with Wasps,” Launchbury said. “There were a number of factors to consider, but uppermost in my mind was where I would become the best rugby player I could be.

“Also, with a baby on the way, where my family would be happiest long term. Wasps is that place for me.”

The Exeter-born forward has become a mainstay in Stuart Lancaster’s England squad, playing in their last 19 Tests and again winning a call-up this week for next month’s QBE International series against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa, and Australia.

After an injury lay-off, Launchbury returned to the Wasps team in their European Rugby Champions Cup defeat at Leinster on Sunday, making the most tackles in the opening round of the competition.

“I love this club, I have huge respect for the players and coaches, and continuing to work with Dai Young was a huge factor in my decision,” he added.

“He is so knowledgeable about the game and I feel I have learnt so much from him. I am also excited to continue to play with this talented group of players and feel we are developing a team which we can all be proud of.”

Launchbury also took time to pay tribute to the club’s owner after the decision was made to relocate the club to Coventry from December in a bid to secure their long-term future.

“Since I have been at Wasps, we as a club have searched for our own home and to have finally secured that permanent home is massive for Wasps,” he said.

“It has proved the ambition Derek Richardson and the club have to re-establish ourselves as one of Europe’s most successful clubs and I am looking forward to our first game at the Ricoh Arena on 21 December against London Irish.

“When I saw the plans for our new training base I was blown away by the standard of facilities Wasps players will have access to on a daily basis. This is very much an environment and culture I believe in, and I want to be part of it going forward.”

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young praised Launchbury’s loyalty in signing a new deal with the club with other, seemingly more lucrative, offers on the table.

“I am over the moon that Joe has decided to stay at Wasps and it is a significant reflection of the positive direction the club is moving in that we have retained a player of his calibre and reputation within the world game,” Young said.

“Joe truly believes this is the club where he will continue to grow as a player and fulfil his international ambitions.

“I’m not daft, I know how sought after Joe is in world rugby and imagine he will have had clubs lining up to talk to him about possibly joining them.

“It’s not simply Joe’s talent which marks him out as a world class player, it is also his attitude and commitment to the team.

“He is a very loyal and down-to-earth guy. He has weighed up all options and decided that Wasps is the best place for him to develop his game thanks to the structure we already have in place and the ambitious move to Coventry.

“He had his pick of teams and he has chosen Wasps because he believes this is a squad which will be successful.

“We as coaches and a playing squad will take that as a massive compliment.”

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