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Launchbury nearing return

England lock Joe Launchbury could be back in action for his club Wasps by the end of the month as he nears completion in his recovery from neck surgery.

Launchbury has been sidelined since October with the nerve problem caused by a bulging disc but is closing in on a return to full training with the Champions Cup quarter-finalists.

Director of rugby Dai Young has revealed the 23-year-old is on course to resume playing in either the Aviva Premiership match against Exeter on April 26 or Leicester on May 9.

"Joe is in the final stage of his rehab, so he's over the worst, but if one or two days don't quite go to plan it will make a difference in when he's back," Young said.

"We've pencilled in either the Leicester or the Exeter games, so he should be back in either of those games. It will be like having a new signing ."

Launchbury will be missing for Sunday's trip to double European champions Toulon with Wasps facing the toughest assignment of the four English teams in the last eight of the Champions Cup.

The odds are heavily stacked against the Coventry-based club, but Young is planning to ambush the big-spending Top 14 team with a display bristling with attacking intent.

"If this is a slow, set-piece game we'll lose. If they are allowed to control the tempo, we don't have enough to win," Young said.

"If we can get some real tempo and intensity and ask questions of them, then who knows what can happen?

"This is a game we have to try to win. If we sit back and are conservative, there's only winner.

"Toulon have lost games and they're not unbeatable, so you have to back yourselves.

"We've shown we can upset the best teams. Against these guys we'll have to play for 80 minutes. We just have to go out there and really play.

"If we can get quick line-outs or taps going then great. Anything within kicking range we'll kick it, but until then let's play rugby. It may be good enough on the day, it may not.

"We're not going to throw caution to the wind, but we have to be a little more adventurous than we would be in the Premiership."

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