Joe Launchbury has been backed to be the next England captain by former World Cup winner Will Greenwood.
The former Christ’s Hospital School pupil, from Barns Green, made just his second start for his country in more than a year in their dismal World Cup exit to Australia on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was one of the only Englishmen to emerge from the defeat with any credit and was also named man of the match.
It was the Wasps lock’s first start of the competition after being a replacement for the opening win over Fiji and defeat to Wales.
Launchbury missed out on the Six Nations due to a neck injury and was absent from the England set-up for 12 months, before starting his comeback in their World Cup warm-up games.
Greenwood rates the former Barns Green and Worthing Raiders player’s captain-like credentials and believes another class showing from the emerging talent, proves that local boy Launchbury has all the qualities to be a natural successor to Chris Robshaw.
The 2003 World Cup winner said: “Launchbury, make him captain. For this weekend and for going forward. There are arguments for other players, but you are looking for world 15 players.
“Let’s go back to Martin Johnson in 1997 and Fran Cotton, go knock on a door and they see you. Go knock on a door Joe, say ‘it’s time for a coin toss, Joe Launchbury, England captain.
“He’s an absolute tough competitor, a fantastic rugby player. Got the soft hands of a Kiwi second row, can play six and cover tackles galore.
“It’s a huge blow to miss the Six Nations and unfortunately he then come back with not enough games under his belt, but moving forward, what a captain he would be.”
Launchbury has retained his place in Saturday’s squad for their final dead rubber pool match against Uruguay at The Etihad Stadium amngst nine changes made by coach Stuart Lancaster.
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