Young expects Launchbury to stay


Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Dai Young would be “surprised and disappointed” if England lock Joe Launchbury does not agree a new Wasps contract by the end of the month.

Rugby director Young believes Wasps have “ticked all the boxes” in proving to Launchbury his future is best served remaining with the Aviva Premiership club.

Wasps expect a “sustainable” financial future based on their December move to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena can fend off suitors like Saracens, who are monitoring Launchbury’s situation with his current deal expiring next summer.

Young revealed he went three months without pay in the depths of Wasps’ two-year battle for solvency, and now hopes club “backbone” Launchbury will seize the opportunity to spearhead a successful future.

“We’d be surprised and disappointed if he leaves, but there are no guarantees in life,” Young told Press Association Sport.

“We had to demonstrate to Joe that this is the right place for him to stay, first and foremost.

“We had to have a competitive squad, enough players in his position. He won’t be overplayed. We’ve got to have ambition as a club, playing in the top tournament – and the last thing really was we had to be sustainable, not relying really on the generosity of one person.

“So we’ve pretty much ticked all the boxes, I believe.

“That doesn’t mean to say that Joe or all our best players are going to stay, because that’s life, but certainly from my point of view I think the club have done as much as they could to keep our best players, Joe being one of them.

“It was never planned to talk until the middle of October, so over the next couple of weeks we’ll start talking, and we should have a real steer by the end of October whether it’s going to go positive or negative.

“But all the vibes we have at the minute are quite positive.

“I would never criticise a player for leaving, but I don’t see any reason to leave now, not now everything’s going in the right direction.

“Joe has been the backbone of this team and helped keep it afloat: so it would be really nice to see him achieve something here.

“I know he thinks the world of this club, and is very respectful and thankful for the club giving him the opportunity to put him back on the map.

“He’s had all his England caps from here, so it’s not as though he hasn’t achieved what he wanted as a player, even through difficult times.”

Former Wales prop Young spent more than 18 months concealing Wasps’ true financial plight from his players.

From buying medical tape to paying for the team bus, Young had to dip into his own pocket to paper over financial shortfalls – all while trying to cajole players into committing their futures to a club in jeopardy.

Young believes the likes of Launchbury will not waste their two-year investment battling through off-field uncertainty and on-field lulls to move just when both team and club performance are on the rise.

“I didn’t actually get paid for three months – that’s the reality,” said Young, as Wasps confirmed their first match at the Ricoh will be the Premiership clash against London Irish on December 21.

“There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes that the players didn’t realise.

“It was a big burden because at the time we were fighting relegation and trying to convince players to stay.

“I had to buy tape a couple of times and actually had to pay for the bus once.

“I got all the money back in the end, but at the time we just didn’t have the cash to pay for these things.

“I never wanted to tell players, ‘we haven’t got the money’.

“I’ve got a real loyalty to a lot of these players. We’ve been through a lot together, and, as things start to become rosier both on and off the field, nothing will give me more satisfaction than watching them achieve big things.

“I never contemplated walking away. Once I step into something, I step into it 100 per cent.”

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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