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Young: Gold standard Launchbury a Lions must

Dai Young would be “hugely disappointed” to see Joe Launchbury left out of the Lions squad tomorrow and he reckons Wasps could have a big contingent in New Zealand with three other of his stars also in the running.

Launchbury has been a stand out performer for Wasps for many years but took things to a new level this season with England.

Young had no doubt about the qualities underlining the prodigious lock, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday, when he named him club captain saying he is “worth his weight in gold”.

And Young wouldn’t be surprised to see Launchbury joined in Warren Gatland’s squad by fellow Wasps’ stars Elliot Daly and James Haskell as well as prolific try-scorer Christian Wade who played in the 2013 tour of Australia under Gatland.

“Warren Gatland would need a big plane if he listened to all the coaches but it’s fair to say I’d be hugely disappointed for Joe if he didn’t get selected,” Young told TRP.

“Picking him as my captain at the start of the season showed what I thought of him as a player and he’s taken to the responsibility of it really well.

“He’s carrying strongly, he’s physical at the breakdown causing a lot of problem for the opposition there. He’s worth his weight in gold and he’s always one of our best players on the field and a great role model off it.

“He couldn’t have done much more during the Six Nations with three man of the match awards.

“People criticise me for saying the same things about Christian Wade but it’s the same with Joe. If you ask me the same question I’ll always give you the same answers.

“Wadey’s got an argument too. Warren’s got a preference for big wingers but when Wales were successful they had a little fella on one of the wings in Shane Williams.

“Gatland’s brought Christian in for the tour back in 2013 so he knows all about him. He’s scored 15 tries this season and he’s had some good performances against big wingers.

“Elliot’s done enough during the Six Nations to be at the forefront of selection, too, especially with his ability to play wing, centre or full-back.

“And Hask has shown in the summer he’s getting better and better and I’m sure he’s in the thought process. Fingers crossed for them all.”

NICK VERDIER

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