Joe Launchbury vows to grind teams down in pursuit of Six Nations glory
Last Updated: 25/02/14 9:52am
Joe Launchbury claims the Six Nations championship is now wide open.
Joe Launchbury believes England's work-rate could hold the key to Six Nations glory this season.
The Wasps lock put in a lung-busting shift in Saturday's enthralling 13-10 victory over Ireland at Twickenham, a result which threw this year's competition wide open.
Launchbury was a picture of exhaustion at the final whistle, his performance typifying the commitment of an England pack that worked themselves into the ground over 80 minutes.
The 22-year-old has now set his sights on producing a similar display against reigning champions Wales on March 9 as England attempt to gain revenge for last year's 30-3 defeat in Cardiff that secured the title for Warren Gatland's side.
"The key is that in every international you try to get yourself into that place of exhaustion. That's what enables us to win games," Launchbury said.
"We pride ourselves on being a pack who can play this all-court game and can run around and take teams to dark places.
"That's what we tried to do against Ireland and obviously it's hard work on ourselves, but hopefully you see the impact it makes on the opposition as well."
Launchbury was particularly impressive at the breakdown against Ireland as he made 15 tackles, the second highest in both teams and only one behind Chris Robshaw.
But he also produced the finest tackle of the match in the closing stages, clipping the ankle of Dave Kearney with an outstretched arm as the Ireland wing threatened to snatch a late, match-clinching try.
"Not at all was I sure I was going to make it. I was probably a bit out of position," said Launchbury, who was switched to blindside flanker in the 70th minute to accommodate replacement lock Dave Attwood.
"I've tried to chase down wingers in the past but I'm pretty sure that's the first tap-tackle I've ever tried.
"My head was down on the turf, face down. I think that's the first time I've ever managed to get the guy down."
Launchbury is one of only six survivors from the England XV that started last year's mauling at the Millennium Stadium when the Grand Slam beckoned.
"It's a massive game for Wales and it's a massive game for us as well after what happened last year," he added.
"I think we have a harder edge than last year and I hope so as well. I hope it shows, because we've worked very hard and that's shown in our game.
"Cardiff was a tough day for us all. It was a long time ago but the memory of what went wrong that day is still there.
"We probably weren't quite there physically and we've addressed that. We've probably slightly changed the way we try and go about playing.
"We've moved forward as a team and we've changed. We're very excited about what's coming round the corner - two massive games and it's all to play for."