Joe Launchbury says losing last month’s Premiership Final hurt so much he questioned whether rugby was worth all the grief.
The England lock returns to Twickenham on Saturday for the first time since the Wasps side he captains blew a late chance to become English champions three weeks ago.
Launchbury was distraught after his team coughed up an attacking lineout five metres from the try line and allowed Exeter to escape to victory.
He admitted: “After all the hard work we’d put in to get there, then the despair and pain you feel at the end, you sometimes question whether it was all worth it to fall at the final hurdle.
“The fact that we had that shot made it worse. Working ourselves into that position and then not taking the chance, in a game as big as that, was really tough to take.
“That’s probably where the emotion came from, the raw upset that you saw from a lot of us. We will all look back on that one critical moment as a big frustration.
“No-one wants to lose in finals and we’ve lost two now.”
Launchbury, 29, cannot afford to dwell on it this weekend when England open their Autumn Nations Cup campaign against Georgia.
When last the countries locked horns, in Oxford 21 months ago, sparks flew at a specially arranged training session.
Georgia, with their world renowned scrum, had been flown in to help sharpen up Eddie Jones’ pack of forwards.
Twice the teams packed down against each other and each time it resulted in an ugly brawl.
“There’s no better feeling than dominating in that area,” England defence coach John Mitchell said last night. “It’s important from a psychological point of view as it leads into other aspects of your game.
“But against Georgia we’ve got to be up for it from the first contest to the last.”
Launchbury is grateful for the opportunity to get stuck in – not least as it gives him a chance to clear his head.
“A lot of the (Wasps) guys had a few weeks off but I came straight into camp and that was the best thing for me," he said.
“I would have been sat there every day thinking about the final. Instead I was straight into a new exciting environment. It helped me look forward rather than back.’
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