English Rugby
Corbisiero relishing Vunipola battle
ESPN Staff
August 3, 2013
Alex Corbisiero crashes over for the Lions in the third Test © Getty Images

England's Alex Corbisiero has welcomed the challenge of Mako Vunipola for the loose-head berth in the national side.

The pair both won British & Irish Lions caps in the summer with Vunipola included in the original squad for the tour of Australia and Corbisiero called up as a replacement for the injured Cian Healy. It was Corbisiero who got the nod in the series-deciding third Test win over the Wallabies and the pair are likely to be going for the same No.1 berth on the England stage.

The pair were both included in England's Elite Player Squad, which was announced on Thursday, ahead of an autumn series which sees Stuart Lancaster's men take on Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. And Corbisiero, who has signed for Northampton Saints, is relishing the chance to go head-to-head with Vunipola once again for that starting spot.

"I really enjoy being in the squad with Mako. He's a good guy on and off the field, an outstanding player," Corbisiero said. "What he's achieved in the last year has been incredible. The competition will only strengthen both of us.

"We'll both be fighting to start, but also be happy to come off the bench. It's a position of strength because there's Joe Marler as well."

Corbisiero starred in the third Test against Australia, a match which saw him score the opening try, and he admits the experience was "incredible".

"I underestimated how special a Lions tour is, so to experience it first hand was incredible," Corbisiero added. "Being in the same dressing room with Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and Sam Warburton - the last three Lions captains in one team - is something I'll always remember."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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