Launchbury gets England fans' award

LONDON Fri Dec 7, 2012 11:16am GMT

Joe Launchbury (R) and Mike Brown of England close in as Zane Kirchner of South Africa runs with the ball during their international rugby match at Twickenham, London November 24, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Joe Launchbury (R) and Mike Brown of England close in as Zane Kirchner of South Africa runs with the ball during their international rugby match at Twickenham, London November 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

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LONDON (Reuters) - Second row forward Joe Launchbury was voted England's "man of the series" on Friday following his impressive displays in their four autumn internationals where he made his debut.

The powerful 21-year-old made such an impact off the bench in the win over Fiji and defeat to Australia that he was given his first start in the one point defeat by South Africa and retained his spot for last week's famous 38-21 victory over New Zealand.

The award was based on a poll of fans on the website of series sponsor QBE, with Launchbury earning 42 percent of the votes.

Of the other nominees fellow lock Geoff Parling gained 23 percent, captain and flanker Chris Robshaw 21 and fullback Alex Goode 14.

"To win this award is massively humbling and I'm grateful to everyone who voted - to be honest I was shocked to even be shortlisted," Launchbury said in a statement.

"It's been an amazing month for me, to make my debut was a massive honour - and at the time the biggest achievement of my career. But as the weeks went by I felt like I grew in confidence and for it all to culminate in that amazing win against New Zealand topped it all off.

"As Tom Wood said after the New Zealand game, although he won man of the match, any number of players could have taken the award, and that's exactly how I feel picking up this award. You're only as good as the 14 players around you and even when our backs were against the wall we stuck together."

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

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