- Loose-head prop impressed by youngsters during Barbarians win
- “I want to lead by example and say things when they need to be said” – Corbisiero
On the back of his first England appearance in 2013, Alex Corbisiero is excited about testing his leadership skills on the tour to South America as a senior member of Stuart Lancaster’s fledgling squad.
Corbisiero made his first international appearance since December’s defeat of New Zealand on Sunday as the Barbarians were beaten 40-12 at Twickenham, excelling in both tight and loose alongside fellow front-rower David Wilson.
The Northampton Saints-bound loose head was especially influential at the scrum, where he consistently outmanoeuvred much-lauded Samoan James Johnston.
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And after missing the entirety of this season’s RBS 6 Nations with a troublesome knee injury, Corbisiero outlined his elation at rejoining the England fold.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it today,” explained the 24-year-old following a convincing victory for Lancaster’s charges. “The crowd were awesome and to be back at Twickenham with a rose on my shirt was absolutely ideal.
“We just had to spend this week focusing on ourselves. We didn’t worry too much about what we expect from them because this week was about staying on programme and playing our game without getting involved in a sevens-style contest. I think we accomplished that.
Corbisiero played down the manner in which he and Wilson convincingly bettered Johnston and Barbarians loose head Andrea Lo Cicero, preferring instead to praise how a youthful backline capitalised on their chances clinically.
Making the most of the forwards’ superiority, Freddie Burns, Marland Yarde, Christian Wade, Kyle Eastmond and Billy Twelvetrees all grabbed tries – and their accuracy was not lost on Corbisiero.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy but we did manage to get some set-piece dominance at scrum-time,” he added. “You need that platform for your backs and I thought they really shone.
“There were a lot of debutants who were very good. Matt Kvesic was one of them and Marland Yarde was outstanding out there today, too.
Photo: Getty Images
“Freddie Burns was also really good. I know he’s played before but he really controlled the game and kicked well. Rob Webber and Dave Atwood as well – there are so many guys who aren’t regulars in the side but put in great performances.
“Kyle [Eastmond] has worked really hard and immersed himself [in training] and you can see the benefits already. He scored with his first touch at Twickenham – that must be a pretty great feeling.”
Having now won 18 caps since his maiden Test against Italy in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations, Corbisiero is a relatively old head in the 31-man party that arrived in Buenos Aires today. Indeed, only Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes and Wilson are more experienced at the highest level.
Likely to be at the heart of preparations for the two-Test series against the Pumas, the former London Irish man is in no mood to shirk responsibility.
“We will take a lot of confidence from [the Barbarians win] but no game is perfect,” Corbisiero continued. “There is going to be plenty to work on this week in terms of performance analysis, but we are in good stead to tighten up the nuts and bolts.
“Stuart has included me in the leadership group this time round with a few guys missing. I was more than happy to step into that role and I’m really enjoying it so far.
“I’m going to try and lead by example by putting it in on the field and saying things if and when they need to be said.”