Wasps captain Joe Launchbury has given an insight into what was said in the changing rooms during and after Monday’s thrilling victory at Bath.
The long-serving lock went the distance in an engaging encounter which saw Wasps lose four players to injury and overturn a 13-point deficit to win 27-23 and leapfrog Bath into the play-off places.
“Probably speaking with a bit of emotion after the game but I actually said in the changing rooms to the boys that it was up there with definitely being one of my favourite wins since being at the club over the 10 years,” said Launchbury, who made he first of his 148 appearances for the club in January 2011.
“We’ve had games when we’ve played better, we’ve had games when we’ve scored better tries and all the rest of it. For me, from losing Thomas [Young] early then having a 13-0 deficit, then losing another few players in the first half, it would’ve been easy to say that was kind of the way the afternoon was going and it wasn’t going to be our afternoon.
“I think we’ve shown a few times since the start of the season really but especially in the last few weeks, there’s resilience in this side. I am just really proud of everyone for how we managed to work our way back into that game against a high quality Bath outfit. I’m delighted with the way we worked our way back into it.”
Launchbury was forced to think on his feet a few minutes before the interval when replacement hooker Gabriel Oghre, who arrived in place of the injured Tommy Taylor, was knocked out and forced to leave the field of play. The scrums went uncontested taking that out of the equation but a problem remained with Wasps not having a lineout thrower in their ranks.
Despite the adversity, Wasps closed out the remaining minutes of the half with Jacob Umaga kicking a penalty to level the scores at 13-13 heading into the interval where the captain got some time to address the matter at hand.
“With what happened with losing another hooker, the uncertainty originally about what that was going to entail,” Launchbury said. “And then just the understanding that we’ve got to get on with it. We talked about it being quite exciting. That happened five minutes before half-time, we got together as a leadership group and spoke about as quick as we can and getting through the next five minutes.
“We felt we needed to get to half-time when we could have a bit more of a detailed chat about exactly what that required. We realised our third choice in Thomas Young who usually throws in, he was off the pitch as well.
“It was a bit like what I imagine a football penalty shoot-out would be like when you look around and ask who is going to take the next penalty and nobody quite wants to. It was a case of that for a little bit. Si [Simon McIntyre] put his hand up and said he was happy to do it. That made our jobs easier.”
Launchbury pointed to a mindset and approach during the lockdown period, when the Premiership season was suspended, as being key to adapting on Monday.
“We talked at half-time about not having a better opportunity to have that adversity and get a great win off the back of that,” he said. “We spent a lot of time in lockdown talking about managing situations and how this block of games in general we’re going to have to be adaptable players we’re going to have to back up games in short turnarounds and we need to train the next day after games.
“We certainly weren’t expecting that on the pitch but the preparation that was done in that sense really helped us.”