Joe Launchbury relishing England tour of Uruguay and Argentina

The Wasps lock enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough season

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The Independent Online

Joe Launchbury had no thoughts about putting his feet up this summer as he looks to make up for lost time on England's tour of Uruguay and Argentina.

The Wasps lock enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough season to be named England's player of the QBE autumn series and player of the year.

England coach Stuart Lancaster has rested the likes of Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Chris Ashton from tour duty - but Launchbury was never going to be one of them.

The 22-year-old was sent home injured from South Africa last summer and he is desperate to experience a first overseas tour with England.

"I'm desperate to tour because I only lasted three days last summer out in South Africa," Launchbury said.

"Last year I tore a ligament in my knee on the morning we flew out to South Africa but it didn't flare up until we were on the plane.

"I was on my way again very quickly. It was pretty frustrating but makes you realise what opportunities there are. No part of me wants a rest.

"I love playing for England and I don't want to sit on the sides when I could be playing myself."

All Launchbury's exertions with England began to take their toll towards the end of the season, when his performances lacked their usual spark and dynamism.

Launchbury's prospects of touring with the British and Irish Lions dipped around the same time, partly due to Paul O'Connell's return to form and fitness.

But a shoulder blow eased Launchbury's work-load and he made the most of a few weeks off to come back into the England camp refreshed and back on top form.

Launchbury delivered a man of the match performance against the Barbarians and he will be a key figure for England in their two-Test series against Argentina.

"I play the best when I can really concentrate on the rugby and have no outside distractions. Touring is an extension of that and travelling to a new country is very exciting," Launchbury said.

"I've never been to Argentina before and there is also the challenge of the rugby.

"I've watched quite a bit of the Rugby Championship this year and although I understand their squad will be a bit different, they put up a great fight against some very good opposition.

"That's exactly the mind-set we expect when we go over there, especially up front. It is a real big test for us, especially with a new set of lads."

England open their tour against a combined South American XV in Montevideo on Sunday before Tests against the Pumas in Salta on June 8 and Buenos Aires on June 15.