England’s final Test against South Africa is no dead rubber, says Joe...

England’s final Test against South Africa is no dead rubber, says Joe Launchbury

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Joe Launchbury says England are desperate to end their tour of South Africa on a high, insisting Saturday’s final Test is no dead rubber despite them trailing the series 2-0.

South Africa wrapped up the summer series with a 23-12 victory in Bloemfontein last Saturday, a week after their opening 42-39 win in Johannesburg, where they had trailed England by 21 points.

England now head to Newlands in Cape Town for the third and final Test on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Action, looking to end a run of six straight defeats, having last won against Wales in their second Six Nations encounter in February.

As Eddie Jones’ side go in search of a first win in South Africa since 2000, Launchbury insists no game should be treated as a dead rubber when representing your country.

“We’ve drawn a line under it in terms of the loss,” Launchbury told Sky Sports. “We’re desperate to move forward and improve and get that win we’ve been desperate for all tour this weekend.

“There is still from learning for us to take out of the last two games and we’ve put that into place. We’ve trained well and I think we’re learning, which we probably didn’t pick up quick enough from Test one to two and hopefully we can try and implement that this weekend.”

“We’re not preparing for this as a dead rubber at the end of tour. It’s a really important game for us and it’s a great opportunity for us, first and foremost to play for England again. It’s something which should never be taken lightly.

“Sometimes you don’t know when you’re next going to be here. We owe it to ourselves and the people around us to put in a good performance.”

After missing the first Test through injury, Launchbury returned to partner Maro Itoje at second row in the Bloemfontein defeat.

He added: “I was nearly fit to play the first Test, but by the second Test came around I was chomping at the bit, and felt like I had been training hard away from the pitch.

“I really enjoyed my opportunity and being back playing again. I didn’t feel much in terms of the lack of fitness. I felt good but unfortunately a few key moments in the game went against us and that in Test rugby is all that it really takes.”

Watch the third and final Test between South Africa and England on Saturday. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event at 3pm.

(c) Sky News 2018: England’s final Test against South Africa is no dead rubber, says Joe Launchbury