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Wasps 'gobsmacked' by Launchbury's Lions omission

Launchbury missed out on Gatland's Lions squad Credit: PA

Wasps have tweeted their disappointment at Joe Launchbury's omission from the British & Irish Lions squad for this summer's tour of New Zealand.

The forward was not named in Warren Gatland's 41-man squad despite impressing for England in their victorious Six Nations campaign earlier this year.

The Wasps player is yet to comment on being left out, but was quick to praise team-mate Elliot Daly, who made the cut.

Dylan Hartley also misses out and he becomes the third successive England captain not to make the tour, following in the footsteps of Chris Robshaw and Steve Borthwick.

However, the Six Nations champions still supply the largest contingent, numbering 16 players.

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Cockerill replaces Ford at Toulon

Mike Ford lost his job after the Toulon’s 29-9 loss to Clermont Auvergne on Sunday. Credit: PA

Toulon have announced the departure of Mike Ford as head coach by mutual agreement, with Richard Cockerill taking charge of the first team.

Cockerill will be assisted by Marc Dal Maso, and Matt Giteau has agreed to coach the backs while continuing in his playing role.

The changes were confirmed on Tuesday morning on the club's website.

Sexton carefully managed before Lions tour - Lancaster

Johnny Sexton played in the 6 Nations for Ireland Credit: PA

Stuart Lancaster insists Johnny Sexton will be carefully managed throughout the business end of a season that concludes with the British and Irish Lions' tour to New Zealand.

Sexton will return to Leinster's starting XV for their Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday in his first appearance since helping Ireland deny England back-to-back Grand Slams.

The 31-year-old missed the start of the championship with a calf problem but made enough of an impact on his return - including a brave shift against Eddie Jones' men - to identify him as favourite for the role of Lions Test fly-half.

Injury appears to be the main obstacle to his chances of featuring against the All Blacks, but Lancaster, Leinster's senior coach, expects him to enjoy a productive run-in.

Johnny is available. He's not had a great run of games this season, but when he has played he's been excellent, particularly in Europe.

He's just been a bit unlucky with minor injuries - they've been nothing major and hopefully he'll get a decent run now until the end of the season.

He'll be managed over the next few weeks. Johnny won't play every match but he's certainly fit and available for this one.

I wouldn't go as far as to say he'll be first choice for the Lions because there's a long way to go.

He was frustrated to miss the first two Six Nations games because of the calf injury.

To play as well as he did in the games that he did play, he has to be contention for the Lions squad, not just because of his talent but because of his experience as well.

We're both top of our competitions and something will have to give. It's great to go into a game where both teams are attack-minded.

But with my defence coach's hat on, we need to be conceding less than four tries to win.

– Stuart Lancaster
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