England tour to South Africa
Corbisiero relishing next step in rugby education
ESPN Staff
May 18, 2012
England's Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Alex Corbisiero celebrate a penalty try, England v Ireland, Six Nations, Twickenham, England, March 17, 2012
Alex Corbisiero was part of an England pack that dominated Ireland in this year's SIx Nations © Getty Images
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Rising star Alex Corbisiero is ready to take the next step in his development on England's tour of South Africa next month.

The London Irish loose-head prop broke into the international set-up last year and after playing a bit-part role during a disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign he was an ever-present during this year's Six Nations as England regained some credibility. His reward was a place in Stuart Lancaster's squad for the three-Test, five-match trip to South Africa.

Reflecting on his ascent from promising newcomer to cornerstone of the Test side, the 23-year-old singled out the World Cup as a key proving ground. "It was a massive learning experience for me," he told RFU.com. "At such a competitive level as the World Cup it really opens your eyes to how big rugby is and the responsibility you have as a player.

"I thought I grew as a player - I was playing with experienced veterans of the game who were in that world class tier. I was able to put that behind me, take the lessons from it and build on the Six Nations this year, which was a really positive experience."

The result was a string of strong performances in this year's battle for northern hemisphere supremacy with his part in the brutal destruction of the Ireland pack helping to cement his status as front row force. "Ireland was a big test, especially for the pack and the front row," he recalled. "We found a weakness in their game on that day and went to expose it. We built from there, the crowd got involved and it felt like it demoralised them a bit. And after having a tough outing against them it was a good feeling to be able to do that."

Next up is a formidable challenge in the form of the Springboks but the New York-born Corbisiero has no intention of taking a step back. "Obviously you're aware of what you've achieved but you can't take your foot off the pedal - it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get that result.

"To do it again against a team like South Africa is going to be a massive challenge but we're just going to control what we can control, prepare as best we can and go out there and give them the best competition we can."

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