‘Wasps relishing Exeter duel’ – Launchbury

Date published: May 16 2016

EXETER, ENGLAND - MAY 01:  Joe Launchbury of Wasps is held by Geoff Parling dduring the Aviva Premiership match between Exeter Chiefs and Wasps at Sandy Park on May 1, 2016 in Exeter, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wasps lock Joe Launchbury has revealed that his club’s players can’t wait to take on Exeter in their Premiership play-off at Sandy Park on Saturday.

As supporters begin to count down the days to the club’s first domestic semi-final in eight years, Launchbury said the excitement is mirrored inside the camp.

“The excitement here is unbelievable at the moment; it’s a great place to be. We all understand the importance of the game and we’re looking forward to what will be a massive challenge this weekend,” he told Wasps’ official website.

“It’s been a long time waiting for a Premiership Semi Final, now we’re here and the goal is to not let it pass us by and give it our all.

“This squad has worked extremely hard all year to get to this position and we are extremely privileged to be here in what has been one of the toughest seasons to date and we don’t want the season to end here.

“We’d love to go down to Exeter, which is an extremely tough place to go, and put in a performance we are proud of and our supporters will be proud of, which will hopefully be enough to give us one more game next week.”

Saturday’s game will be the club’s second semi-final, with Wasps narrowly missing out to the eventual champions in Europe, and Launchbury says the side have to be wiser to the challenge this weekend.

“We’ve got to learn from that definitely,” added Launchbury.

“It was a great day for the club, a great experience being in a European Semi Final like that but the goal is to progress. On the day we were edged out by Saracens, who were the better team on the day but we have to learn from that and take it into this weekend.”

“I’m no different to any other player, we are all desperate to play in these big games and this is why you play rugby, to be involved at the business end of the season and show what you can really do.

“Wasps haven’t had that for a few years but, when it came time for me to re-negotiate my contract and have a look at the options and what was going on at this club, I really believed in the vision of Dai and Derek who fully believed in the fact that we could be here in such a short space of time.

“We may have done it slightly quicker than many people had expected but it’s brilliant and has completely vindicated my decision to stay at this club.

“Exeter have been great all year, improving every season. They’ve probably been a bit more steady in their climb towards the play-offs than we have, with a few good years leading up to this moment.

“They’ve got a well-balanced, good young squad with players there who are hungry for success. We’ve played against them a number of times already this season, so we both know what’s coming and it will come down to who executes as well as they can.”

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