Stuart Lancaster backs Joe Launchbury to outshine Eben Etzebeth

Last Updated: 23/11/12 8:56am

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Joe Launchbury: Youngster tipped to shine against South Africa

Joe Launchbury: Youngster tipped to shine against South Africa

Sky Bet

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has backed Joe Launchbury to outshine Eben Etzebeth in Saturday's clash with South Africa.

The 21-year-old Wasps lock will make his first international start at Twickenham and lines up against Springboks own starlet lock in Etzebeth, who escaped a citing earlier this week.

Lancaster said: "I remember watching Etzebeth at the U20 World Cup. He has been destined to be a Springbok for a long time. Joe's journey has been different but he is ready for this challenge.

"You see what he's delivered off the bench against Fiji and Australia, his ability to deal with the international rugby, there's no reason why he shouldn't be an England player for a long time.

"Hopefully we should be sat here in seven or eight years time and I'll be saying 'Joe Launchbury's still the best'.

"But we don't need just one enforcer against the Springboks on Saturday, we need eight. We need all our pack to make sure that we are on top of their game to win the breakdown battle, the physical battle, the set piece battle which will be a necessity to win the game."

"There's no reason why he shouldn't be an England player for a long time."
Stuart Lancaster on Joe Launchbury

Launchbury himself added: "It's a very big physical game to start my first Test so I understand the responsibility. I do really enjoy that side of the game.

"As a 19-year-old kid I really learned about the physicality they bring to everything they do. It was huge. They are very macho guys and they like to lift heavy weights.

"On my first day I turned up and was told it was live scrums and mauls at 8 o'clock next morning. It was a bit of a culture shock but by the end of the six weeks I was absolutely loving it. I believe we are right up there when it comes to physicality too."

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