Wasps captain Joe Launchbury has cranked up his physicality in the belief his calm demeanour has created a false perception.
Launchbury is producing the best rugby of his career according to Lee Blackett, the Wasps head coach who sees a hard-grafting second row now proficient at winning collisions on both sides of the ball.
The 29-year-old’s stellar form enabled him to reclaim his England starting place in the Autumn Nations Cup and he has even been talked up as a possible Lions captain by Warren Gatland.
Addressing the issue of how he is not considered to be as destructive as other locks, Launchbury believes he has suffered from playing with controlled fury rather than outright aggression.
“It has always been a perception based on how I conduct myself away from the pitch,” said Launchbury, who starts Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Exeter.
“Maybe my personality… I like to think I’m cool and calm when playing and maybe that has gone against me.
“But I’d like to think anyone who has spent time working or playing with me understands where I am on that level, although I don’t show it in some of the off-the-ball stuff, maybe it is a bit more controlled. But in my position, it’s a given you have to have that part of the game.
“I’m really enjoying contributing to both the teams I play in. I’ve worked really hard on my physicality and that’s been an area of focus of mine for a couple of years now.
“It’s a mindset and a willingness to go out and be more physical. I have always made good decisions defensively, but now I’m trying to get my body into the best position possible to have a bit more dominance in the tackle.
“Being an international second row is more than creating numbers and stats in your channel. It’s important to make some game-stopping moments and that’s something I’ve worked on.”
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