Australia v British & Irish Lions, Brisbane, June 22
Gatland: Corbisiero can give us the edge
Tom Hamilton in Brisbane
June 20, 2013
Alex Corbisiero will look to take the game to the Wallabies © PA Photos
Warren Gatland is hoping Alex Corbisiero will give the British & Irish Lions the edge in the scrum when the tourists come up against the Wallabies in the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Corbisiero was the surprise inclusion in the starting XV for the first Test with Mako Vunipola, who was named in Gatland's original 37-man squad, handed a spot on the bench. Corbisiero was called up from England's tour of Argentina following Cian Healy's injury against the Western Force and he will partner fellow Lions Test debutant Tom Youngs in the front-row.
While on tour, Corbisiero has started against the Combined Country and featured from the bench versus the Waratahs and the Brumbies. And Gatland revealed Corbisiero's technique was a big part of his inclusion for the Test match.
"Mako's pretty unlucky. We've looked at the weather conditions and there's a threat of showers," Gatland said. "No doubt (Australia coach) Robbie Deans has looked at Mako technically at scrum time.
"Mako coming off the bench will give us impetus, but Alex is better technically and will give us the edge in the scrum. Alex might also prove to be a better combination with Tom Youngs and Adam Jones, but there's no doubt Mako will have an impact."
The call-up marks an incredible turnaround in fortunes for Corbisiero. He has endured a difficult season dogged with injury and made just two appearances for England.
"There were definitely some dark times this season, sitting there frustrated," Corbisiero said. "And it was great there was that light at the end of the tunnel, now it feels all good."
When Corbisiero arrived in Australia, he spoke of his desire to push for a Test spot, something he has now achieved. He said today: "I just wanted to make the most of the opportunities I was given and put my hand up. I'm absolutely thrilled to be involved this weekend, I'm very proud and excited for the challenge ahead.
"I have been trying to focus on my own game, ensuring my set piece is accurate. And the coaches have obviously given me the nod and I'm very excited."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.