England lock Joe Launchbury is being touted for a Lions squad spot on April 30 but he insists it would be ‘dangerous’ of him to look even four weeks into the future.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence, earning his first Test cap in the autumn despite not having even been in his country’s senior squad at the start of the season.
Launchbury has since become an international regular, picking up the player of the series in November and December and then excelling repeatedly as England finished second in the RBS 6 Nations.
Now reporters and supporters up and down the country are picking the Wasps youngster in their Lions squads and even Test XVs but the man himself says the only way that dream has a chance of becoming a reality is if he focuses on the here and now and forgets all about a sensational summer ahead.
“The reason that I’ve got to where I am now is that I’m living in the present and trying to work as hard as I can each day to stay here,” Launchbury told therugbyblog.co.uk.
“It’s dangerous to look too far ahead in sport. There’s always a game a few days round the corner, so you’re constantly playing, you’re constantly battling away, thinking about the opposition for that weekend.
“Even 12 months ago I was nowhere near the position I’m in now, and I understand the responsibility behind that.
“I can’t afford to now go on and look a few months down the line because it’s not here yet.”
Looking back to the past few months must bring plenty of happy memories for Launchbury, though, but he admits his most recent experience on the Test stage is still a raw one.
England’s heavy defeat to Wales that brought their Grand Slam ambitions to a sobering conclusion was a hard one to take for Stuart Lancaster’s side and Launchbury says it will continue to hurt for a long time yet.
But rather than dwell on that record-breaking reverse in Cardiff in mid-March, Launchbury is determined to ensure it makes this England team even stronger and leads to even greater improvements in his own game.
“We’re a very competitive side and we want to win every time we go out onto the pitch, so that last game in Cardiff was a massive disappointment,” added Launchbury.
“It will live with us for a long time, and hopefully it will drive us forward. As long as we get better off the back of it then that’s all that matters.
“We didn’t want the tournament to end that way. We worked really hard for seven weeks to put ourselves in a strong position going into the last game, and it just went wrong that day. Wales were fantastic, they played really well and credit to them for that.
“The thing about sport is that unfortunately, whether you like it or not, these sorts of days are going to come along.
“That by no means makes them any easier, but it’s part of it and it’s a case of getting on with it and kicking on. We’re doing lots of things right – it’s just fine tuning the things that went wrong that day.”