England lock Joe Launchbury out to impress against Australia

By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC.   Last Updated: 13/11/12 4:51pm

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New England cap Joe Launchbury claims his call-up for the QBE Internationals came out of the blue.

The highly-rated Wasps forward was a late addition to England's elite playing squad, with Launchbury initially brought in during the build-up to the Fiji Test as cover for club-mate Tom Palmer.

However Launchbury made such an impression that he was named in the match-day squad ahead of Mourtiz Botha - with 21-year-old making his debut in the 54-12 rout of the Fijians as a 50th-minute replacement for Palmer.

Launchbury's appearance ended his wait for a first cap, with injury prematurely ending his involvement in the summer tour to South Africa while he was named in the Saxons for the 2012/13 season - with Palmer, Botha, Geoff Parling and Courtney Lawes taking the second row berths in the elite squad.

"It was definitely a special day. To finally get to play for England was amazing, it was just a blur. If anything the day went too fast," Launchbury told Sky Sports.

"In truth, I thought I had missed my chance to play for England in these Tests. I knew, though, that if I went away and played well for Wasps then Stuart Lancaster would notice that.

"We've five or six very good players looking to play in the second row so I will just have to keep trying to impress in training and keep my focus."

Challenge

Launchbury, who first caught the eye in 2011 when he helped England Under-20s to the final of the IRB Junior World Championships, is now hoping to keep his place in the squad for Saturday's outing against Australia.

The Wallabies will arrive at Twickenham on the back of a crushing 33-6 defeat to France, however Launchbury admits the England squad will not underestimate the challenge ahead.

"Australia will be a different game and challenge for us," he said.

"I can't wait. I think we will have to step up from the Fiji game. Australia will be looking to come out the blocks fast after losing against France.

"We can't really read too much into that result, though. Remember this is the same team that drew with the All Blacks. You don't become a bad side overnight so we won't be taking them lightly.

Joe Launchbury is representing the England team. O2 is a proud supporter of the England team. Watch the latest episode of O2 Inside Line for more behind the scenes footage from inside the England camp. Visit www.O2InsideLine.com

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