- Loose head gears up for crucial tussle at scrum
- “The set piece is one of our strengths and we want to take them on” – Corbisiero
Alex Corbisiero has outlined the Lions’ intentions to target Australia at the set piece after the England loose head recovered from a calf strain to win a starting place back for the series decider in Sydney.
With the scrum being the pivotal feature in both Tests to date – shaping the kicking duel between Christian Leali'ifano and Leigh Halfpenny in Melbourne – Warren Gatland has opted for renowned scrummager Richard Hibbard alongside Adam Jones in the front row.
Photo: Getty Images
Perceptions of Wallaby fallibility up front have seemed largely unfounded and despite his respect for the opposition, Corbisiero called for the Lions eight to overwhelm Australia at scrum time.
The 24 year old said: “Fair play to the Wallabies, they’ve fronted up in every game. Technically they’re very good and they’re well-drilled – it’s more of a perception [of their weakness] that people have. We’ve seen what they’re able to do but the set piece is one of our strengths and we want to take them on. We must get our drills right to take advantage of anything that is on offer.”
Australia captain James Horwill, available to play in the third Test after being cleared of an alleged stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in the first Test, has labelled the match the biggest game of rugby since 2003.
With the Lions just 80 minutes away from a first series win in 16 years and the two teams only separated by an aggregate of one point so far, Corbisiero knows Saturday is as much a test of the mind as it is of physicality.
Photo: Getty Images
“It’s going to be a real test of our character and our will to make sure we go out there and put in a good performance,” said the Northampton Saints-bound prop.
“The forwards battle is always crucial in every game you play but in a game of this magnitude and with such small margins deciding the winner, every set piece, every breakdown is vital.”
Returning to the starting line-up caps a remarkable end to the season for Corbisiero, a late call-up on the tour after injuries to Gethin Jenkins and Cian Healy. After missing the 2013 RBS 6 Nations with a persistent knee injury and only 19 Tests into his England career, you could forgive him for being overawed.
But instead Corbisiero accepts the seismic nature of the contest and is thrilled about the chance to write his name in history.
He added: “This is the game of a lifetime, opportunities like this don’t come around very often and might never come round again.
“To be in a Test decider, playing in a Lions team with so many quality players, and knowing that it is another four years until you get another opportunity to even touch something like this, it’s massive. I’m very proud and grateful to be involved but also very excited to go out and try and put my mark on it.”
Keep an eye on RFUtv tomorrow morning for a feature on Alex Corbisiero’s unyielding commitment to becoming a Test prop.