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Launchbury determined to avoid form slump
ESPN Staff
August 21, 2013
Joe Launchbury played both Tests against Argentina in June © Getty Images
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England second-row Joe Launchbury admits he let his standards slip at the end of last season and is keen to avoid a repeat this term.

Launchbury experienced a remarkable 2012-13 campaign as he featured prominently for both club and country. He made his England debut during the November Tests and at one stage, looked a contender to feature on the British & Irish Lions tour.

But towards the end of the season, by his own admission, he suffered a loss of form and instead of travelling Down Under with the Lions, he went to Argentina with England and helped them achieve their back-to-back Test success. And ahead of the new campaign, Launchbury wants to add to his 11 England caps and is keen to find some consistency in his form.

"I'm massively proud of what happened last year. It was a big shock and I was delighted to get my first cap back in November," Launchbury said. "To play for England was a great high but then a few games before the end of the season I may have let the standards I set slip.

"I was lucky to have a week's break before Argentina and then had another two to three weeks to build myself back up for the tour. I loved Argentina and we played some great rugby. It was good for me to come back and put in a performance and now I need to maintain that standard throughout the year."

Launchbury should feature for England during the 2013 November Tests but he knows he will only be picked if he is playing well for Wasps. And like Launchbury, Wasps' form tailed off at the end of last season as they slumped to defeats in their last seven games.

"I was a bit disappointed with the way the end of last season unfolded and that's something we're trying to work on," Launchbury added. "We played some great rugby at times and challenged teams at the top half of the table, but let it slip at the end of the season.

"It dangerous to set minimum and maximum standards for the new season. It's a very professional league, but we feel like we're ready to push forward across all fronts."

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