Aviva Premiership
Wasps will fight to keep Joe Launchbury
ESPN Staff
September 26, 2014
London Wasps' second-row Joe Launchbury is stopped by the London Welsh defence. London Welsh v London Wasps, Aviva Premiership, Kassam Stadium, Oxford, England, December 29, 2012
Wasps will fight to keep Joe Launchbury © Getty Images

Joe Launchbury's future at Wasps continues to be the subject of speculation with rumours he will leave to join Saracens when his contract expires at the end of the season. He has so far not agreed any new terms with his club.

Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young has confirmed Saracens are circling his most prized asset and said the situation is finely poised.

"It's well documented that Saracens are interested in Joe, but then who wouldn't be interested in him?" Young said. "It's no surprise to us that other clubs want him. Joe's the type of guy who doesn't like talking about things. He's not the easiest to pin down because he just wants to play rugby.

"We'll do everything in our power to keep hold of him, but we felt the same about Billy Vunipola, although the family issue was key to Billy leaving. We don't even want to think about replacing Joe but, if we have to, we will.

"You can't force people to sign. He's the only guy in our set-up who we regard as having a big part in our future plans who hasn't committed. We understand where he's coming from because we've been through some tough times at Wasps when we had financial problems and didn't have the squad to compete.

"Joe was one of five or six players who probably carried us a little bit. He wants to be confident that he's signing for a club that's ambitious and moving forward on and off the field, is financially stable and is the right place for him to play his rugby. We're very confident he'll stay, but until that signature is on the paper you'll never know.

"He realises as well as we do the earlier he makes his decision the better."

Young is resting Launchbury for this weekend's game at home to struggling Newcastle. "We'll give him a breather. He's still only a young man at 23 and we have responsibility to make sure he's still playing when he's 33. We need to look after him as best we can. You don't achieve what he's achieved at such a young age unless you're a serious rugby player."

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