Injury ends Launchbury's SA tour
June 1, 2012
Joe Launchbury will not be able to add to his growing reputation with England on account of injury © Getty Images
England lock Joe Launchbury has been ruled out of the tour of South Africa after suffering a knee injury.
The Wasps forward sustained an injury during training prior to England leaving for the three-Test tour, which gets underway on June 9, and coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed on Friday that he has not recovered sufficiently to remain in South Africa.
Launchbury's replacement has already been announced, with uncapped London Irish flanker Jamie Gibson being called up into the 42-man squad.
"Joe picked up a knock in training before we came out here and we had him assessed here and he is not going to be able to continue the tour," Lancaster told a news conference. "We are delighted for Jamie coming in but it is hugely disappointing for Joe."
Centre Manu Tuilagi gave Lancaster a scare by missing the squad's first training session with a foot injury - although Lancaster is confident the New Zealand-born powerhouse will shake off the problem in time for the first Test in Durban a week on Saturday.
Having arrived on Thursday, Lancaster admitted he was surprised by the players' output during the opening training session.
"It was a great session and considering we stepped off a plane yesterday, you'd have thought there would be a bit of tiredness, but they didn't show it," Lancaster said.
"When you've got competition for places that is a critical thing. You know there's a real energy and buzz. We've got some difficult selections to make as we build into next week because we've got a lot of good players fit and in form."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton