England strong enough for title

LOCK Joe Launchbury has warned England’s Six Nations rivals they are made of sterner stuff this year, as they seek to avenge their 2013 title surrender, starting in France on Saturday.

England required victory against Wales 13 months ago to clinch a first grand slam since 2003, but were outmuscled in a 30-3 defeat.

There were no signs of such weakness during the autumn internationals with Argentina, Australia and New Zealand though, and Launchbury believes England’s pack are ready to showcase their combined improvement again.

“We had one day in Cardiff when it didn’t go as we would have wanted,” he said.

“Hopefully we showed where we are in the autumn and we’ll continue to do that in the Six Nations.”