England hand Joe Launchbury Six Nations recall one week after ending nine-month lay-off

Barely seven days after taking part in his first sport of rugby in 9 months, Wasps captain Joe Launchbury has earned a recall to the England squad forward of Sunday’s Six Nations fixture towards Italy.

Launchbury, 30, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a Premiership conflict towards Bath in April 2021 and solely made his return in a shock win over Saracens on January 30.

And after taking part in a full hour in Wasps’ more moderen victory over Exeter Chiefs, the 69-cap lock has been thrown in on the deep finish as England put together to face the Azzurri at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

He’ll exchange Northampton Saints skipper Lewis Ludlam, who has been compelled to withdraw from the squad after struggling a rib cartilage harm throughout Saturday’s 20-17 defeat towards Scotland.

England’s Six Nations obtained off to a messy begin at Murrayfield, the place Luke Cowan-Dickie’s late yellow card helped the hosts clinch back-to-back Calcutta Cup wins for the primary time since 1984.

Nick Isiekwe made a shock begin at lock alongside Saracens team-mate Maro Itoje, with Exeter’s Jonny Hill out resulting from a foot harm and Courtney Lawes nonetheless recovering from a concussion.

It stays unsure as as to if Lawes will probably be obtainable in time for the go to to Rome, encouraging head coach Eddie Jones to name upon the newly match Launchbury for reinforcements.

The Wasps stalwart obtained the latest of his 69 England caps in December 2020, taking part in 44 minutes of their extra-time win over France within the Autumn Nations Cup ultimate.

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Jones has proven quite a lot of religion in Launchbury by recalling him after simply 101 minutes of rugby in 9 months, along with his try-scoring show towards Exeter on Saturday sufficient to persuade the Australian.

“The one means you study is to be examined once more however I’m positive we’ve obtained fast learners within the group,” the England chief stated after Saturday’s defeat in Edinburgh.

“You solely have to have a look at the event of Marcus Smith for the reason that summer time. He has come on leaps and bounds and he’s going to be an impressive quantity ten for us.

Joe Launchbury has led Wasps to victories over Saracens and Exeter Chiefs since returning to health

“Take a look at the leaps and bounds Freddie Steward (21 years previous) has made as a full-back.

“They’ve nonetheless obtained issues to enhance on however the way in which their studying curve goes is totally excellent.”

England journey to face Picket Spoon favourites Italy within the hopes of manufacturing their first win of the match, with the Azzurri additionally licking their wounds following a 37-10 defeat to France.

It will be Launchbury’s eighth look towards Italy if he did function on the Olimpico, whereas uncapped Leicester Tigers starlet Ollie Chessum and Bathtub’s Charlie Ewels are additionally among the many choices at lock.

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