Joe Launchbury believes Elliot Daly has slept his way to a startling comeback in time for England’s opening autumn international against Argentina.
Daly was expected to miss the Twickenham Tests against the Pumas on Saturday and Australia a week later after suffering a knee ligament tear on Champions Cup duty on October 29.
However, the initial prognosis of a two- to three-week period of rehabilitation, enabling him to participate in the climax to the series against Samoa, has been defied after he was included in a reduced squad by Eddie Jones.
Launchbury suspects his Wasps team-mate, who is poised to start on the wing, has used his love for snoozing to aid his comeback
“I think he is a quick healer. He sleeps a lot. He seems to sleep most hours of the day – maybe that has helped him,” Launchbury said.
While Daly enjoyed a successful British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, making three Test appearances, Launchbury was a surprise omission from the squad and instead settled for starts in the series victory over Argentina in June.
The Wasps’ captain has been proud of his form since returning from neck surgery and insists knowing his strengths enables him to remain potent, despite the evolving requirements expected of locks.
“I’m enjoying being injury-free, which I’ve managed to do over the last 18 months, and felt last season that I played some of the best rugby of my career,” Launchbury said.
“There is competition in the second row, but that’s not anything new, it’s been the same for a long while now. If anything, that strength is getting even deeper.
“There was a rough patch with Wasps, but in a way you learn quite a lot about yourself when you go through that. To come through that and to come into camp, I’ve done that with renewed vigour to really fight hard for my spot.
“My days of playing at six have probably gone, now I see myself as a second row. I think the second row role has changed quite a bit and it will continue to.
“It goes through cycles of looking for a physical second row who wouldn’t see much of the ball, to hybrid second rows who can get their hands on the ball.
“It is important to stay consistent to your strengths, to chip away at what you are trying to improve at. That is what I am looking to do.
“I will always enjoy getting my hands on the ball, carrying, offering myself up to the team.”
Both Daly and Jonny May have been included in a 26-man squad that will be trimmed to a matchday 23 tomorrow morning.
May suffered a minor hamstring injury during training in Portugal last week.
England’s 26-man squad: Backs, back three - M Brown (Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), J May (Leicester Tigers), S Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), A Watson (Bath Rugby). Inside backs - D Care (Harlequins), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), A Lozowski (Saracens), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers). Forwards, back five - T Curry (Sale Sharks), N Hughes (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), C Robshaw (Harlequins), S Underhill (Bath Rugby). Front row - D Cole (Leicester Tigers), E Genge (Leicester Tigers), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Williams (Exeter Chiefs).