Forward effort against All Blacks will hold Red Rose in good stead

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    22 Nov 2013     Getty Images

Lock Launchbury was hugely prominent as England’s pack hauled their side back into the match from 17-3 down, making seven carries including one that brought his second Test try from close range.

However, a bang to the shoulder forced him to make way for Geoff Parling shortly after half-time and he could only watch as prolific All Black winger Julian Savea completed a brace late on to allow the world champions sneak home and remain unbeaten in 2013.

Speaking shortly after the final whistle, 22 year-old Launchbury preferred to dwell on the positive aspects of an agonisingly narrow loss.

“Obviously we’re really disappointed with the result – we came here to give it a good go and our target in this autumn was to get three wins,” he explained. “We’ve fallen just short today.

“I suppose looking back we have to be pleased to an extent, though. We were a bit slow out of the blocks and fair play to New Zealand, they scored a good try early on and put us under pressure. But slowly we ground it out and just about got back into it by half-time.

“We are missing a few boys but we’ve got good strength in depth in our pack and anyone can come in and really perform. That was key today and throughout the series, so we’re disappointed with the result but pleased with how it went up front.”

Outlining the period either side of the break as England’s best during the game – the hosts took a 22-20 lead on the hour – Launchbury suggested that Stuart Lancaster’s have learned a great deal and, with three Tests in New Zealand to come next June, will be truly battle-hardened ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Two victories and a valiant reverse to the number one-ranked outfit on the planet is certainly a decent autumn return with two years to go until that tournament.

Indeed, modestly turning to his personal efforts over the QBE International series, Launchbury seemed content with having cementing his place in the England boiler-room following a very strong tour of Argentina this summer.

“I wanted to try and keep hold of the shirt this autumn and prove I deserved to be here,” he finished. “Hopefully I’ve done that.”

“The pack has gone well, which has helped because I’ve just been able to fit in and do my role.”