Launchbury proud of Wasps efforts

Wasps captain Joe Launchbury hailed his side’s performances this season despite the black-and-golds losing 20-23 to Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership final.

The skipper has been outstanding this term and backed his side to challenge for the title again next year.

“I could not ask for any more, it’s a great group of guys,” said Launchbury, “we’re immensely proud to have finished top of the Premiership.

“We were desperate to one further today but to push a great side like Exeter to 100 minutes will hurt but, looking back over the next few weeks, we’ll take a lot out of the season.

“We deserve to be here today and we’ll come back firing again next year but like I said the league is very competitive.”

England international Launchbury described the aim of reaching premiership finals as a key reason for staying at the club after 2012 when Wasps survived by just one point.

“I didn’t want to be part of a club fighting in the bottom half of the league,” the 26-year-old said, “I don’t think any of us did.

“From Dai, right down to all the players, we bought into what we were trying to do and achieve. We knew we had a good group of young players and it was a case of keeping us together and days like today would arrive.

“It’s been a pretty short turn-around to get here. It’s only been four years which is testament to everyone at the club.”

Launchbury praised his side’s defensive efforts in the face of Exeter’s powerful and effective forward-line.

“I felt for large parts our defence stood up to the challenge but when you’re defending for long periods it certainly puts a strain on you,” he said.

“When you defend against Exeter for long periods you know they’re going to put you under pressure because that’s their game plan.

“Going through phase they are comfortable, not necessarily going far up the pitch but they hold on to the ball and try and force a mistake out of you and win a penalty.

“We talked at half-time about holding on to the ball as Dai’s just mentioned. There was some poor decision making.

“It’s easy for us to sit here and say we’ll go and do better off the back of it but we feel we’ve done better this year.

“We took the hurt from losing two semi-finals last year which didn’t go our way and we’re a much better side because of that.”

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