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Wasps lock reflects on Twickenham defeat
JOE Launchbury admits the players were shell-shocked after Saturday’s crushing loss to Harlequins at Twickenham, when a 27-point lead was wiped out in a madcap ten-minute spell from the champions.
Wasps were cruising at 40-13, but if anyone left their seats to get a drink at that time they wouldn’t have believed the game they returned to.
Launchbury said: “I imagine for the neutrals it was awesome to watch.
“And for us for 50 minutes it was amazing, everything that we’ve worked towards in pre-season.
“It couldn’t have gone much better. We executed our gameplan, we knew where to target them – we wanted to use our wide men – and I thought we did that really well.
“But for the last 30 we let ourselves down. Quins showed why they’re champions and scored some great tries, just like we did in the first half, but there is still no excuse for the drop of 27 points.”
Despite a four-try blitz in less than ten minutes, Wasps were still in front until Nick Evans broke their hearts with a long-range penalty in the 78th minutes.
Launchbury said: “The first emotion was just shock. We weren’t losing until the 77th minute, so it was very last minute and sitting in the changing room it was complete shock.
“I haven’t played in a game like that before and we couldn’t put our finger on what it was.
“I don’t think there was one defining moment. We said at half time we wanted to win the first 20 minutes of the second half and not be holding on at the end.
“We did that, we came out really strong and scored the next two tries.
“But momentum shifts are sometimes hard to stop and Quins at full speed, with everything going their way, are hard to stop.”
Despite that agony though, Launchbury and co have got a lot to be proud of and he insists the players won’t let their heads drop after just one game.
He said: “Looking forward it’s important not to forget the first 50 minutes.
“In the time I’ve been here that was the best rugby we played and we should be proud of it. I think we can move on well.
“We’ve got to remember the last 30 and the hurt and pain of losing the game when there is no way we should have, but on the flip side we got two points against the champions.
“It’s a start to the season and now we’ve got three big games coming up. We need to target them.”