Joe launchbury
Launchbury is a pivotal figure for England and has an excellent partnership with Northampton lock LawesGetty Images

Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young has confirmed that Joe Launchbury is nearing a return to first-team action in news that will come as a sizeable boost to England's preparations for the forthcoming World Cup.

Dynamic lock Launchbury has been absent for much of the 2014/15 season to date due to a recurring neck injury that required him to undergo surgery in December.

As well as curtailing his impact on Wasps' attempts to break into the Aviva Premiership's top four following their move to the Ricoh Arena, such an issue has also prevented Launchbury from featuring for his country in both the 2014 autumn international series and the recent Six Nations campaign.

Despite lingering fears that he might not be able to return this season, however, Young claims that the player's rehabilitation work is progressing and that he should be available for selection again within a month.

"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," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"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."

While Launchbury's comeback will certainly prove important for Wasps as they aim to finish an eventful campaign on a high, his return to regular action will also come as a huge relief to England head coach Stuart Lancaster as he prepares to name a 45-man World Cup training squad on 22 June.

Prior to November's 24-21 defeat to New Zealand at Twickenham, the 23-year-old had featured in 20 consecutive tests for his country and his partnership with Courtney Lawes had helped to make the second row one of the most stable and consistently impressive areas of Lancaster's team.

Lawes also missed the first three games of the Six Nations following an ankle problem, but the big-hitting Northampton forward should be set to link-up with Launchbury once again this summer as England attempt to reclaim the Web Ellis trophy on home soil.