England boosted by the restoration to full fitness of lock Joe Launchbury

13 June 2018 - 17:29 By Liam Del Carme
England's lock Joe Launchbury is fit to face South Africa in the second match of the three-match series at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, Free State, on Saturday June 16 2018.
England's lock Joe Launchbury is fit to face South Africa in the second match of the three-match series at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, Free State, on Saturday June 16 2018.
Image: BEN STANSALL / AFP

England will be emboldened by the news of the restoration to full fitness of lock Joe Launchbury.

The Wasps captain missed the first Test at Ellis Park but his return to the side will not only add much needed experience to their ranks but he also brings a hulking physique and an appetite to spread himself in the tight loose.

He’s no Average Joe in the England boiler room.

"Joe Launchbury trained today and trained well‚" England forwards coach Steve Borthwick told the media in Durban on Wednesday.

"He's done a great job with his rehabilitation and is available for selection."

Launchbury is one half of a striking second row partnership with Maro Itoje.

Launchbury brings bone shuddering impact next to Itoje’s dynamism.

The England pack performed commendably in the first Test at Ellis Park but they need to crank it up a notch if they want to level the series in Bloemfontein.

Coach Eddie Jones may also consider elevating new recruit Brad Shields to his backrow.

Shields made his debut as a first half substitute at Ellis Park and he can add bulk and without sacrificing speed around the paddock.

Jones this week will focus on his team’s ill discipline which proved costly in the final analysis at Ellis Park.

Mako Vunipola was yellow carded for a late tackle on Faf de Klerk but it was the team general failure to adhere to the laws that would raised his ire.

Jones lamented a penalty count that he suggested was four times higher than that of the Boks.


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