Harlequins lock Joe Launchbury could be set for an international recall - Ruck

Harlequins lock Joe Launchbury could be set for an international recall

Joe Launchbury may receive a surprise call-up to the England squad for their summer tour against New Zealand and Japan.

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This opportunity arises following a season-ending injury to Leicester second-row Ollie Chessum, potentially paving the way for Launchbury’s return to international rugby. However, his selection hinges on his fitness, as the forward has been sidelined for the last couple of weeks of the season with a calf injury.

RUCK sources suggest that former Wasps captain Launchbury has caught the eye of England head coach Steve Borthwick since his comeback to the Gallagher Premiership with Harlequins last summer.

Joe Launchbury of Harlequins during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher)

Launchbury, who moved to Japan after Wasps’ collapse in 2022, has not retired from international rugby despite missing out on the 2023 Rugby World Cup squad.

“I spoke to Steve [Borthwick] a lot during my time in Japan and on my return from Japan, and I was going to be involved in the initial World Cup camp but I got injured,” Launchbury said.

“I have not really spoken to him much since then, he has obviously had a busy time.

“I don’t think I am going to sit here and retire from international rugby because I don’t feel that is something I need to do. I haven’t had a huge involvement over the last period of time so it is not something I need to do.

“I love playing for England, it is the proudest part of my rugby career and I don’t think I would turn down an opportunity to play but I am aware of where I am.”

He added: “I am not going to sit here and retire from international rugby, but I am not sitting here waiting for the phone to ring.

“I am here to play for Harlequins and I am loving the balance of playing here and being back in England with my family.”

The 33-man England Squad Steve Borthwick Should Select For Summer Tour

It’s been a decade since England’s last visit to New Zealand, a challenging 2014 series under Stuart Lancaster resulting in a 3-0 defeat.

The memories of the 2008 tour aren’t any sweeter, with England tasting defeat in both Tests against the All Blacks. However, a glimmer of triumph emerged in 2003, as they secured a thrilling 15-13 victory over New Zealand just before the Rugby World Cup.

In this highly anticipated tour, Borthwick’s squad will face a formidable challenge with only two tests against the All Blacks, following a clash with Japan in Tokyo.

Here is the list of our predicted squad organised by their current clubs:

RUCK’s England squad for the summer:


  • Joe Marler
  • Fin Baxter
  • Chandler Cunningham-South
  • Marcus Smith

Bristol Bears

  • Harry Randall
  • Gabriel Ibitoye


  • Jamie George
  • Theo Dan
  • Maro Itoje
  • Ben Earl
  • Elliot Daly