British & Irish Lions
Corbisiero leaves England to join up with Lions
ESPN Staff
June 5, 2013
England prop Alex Corbisiero, England v Ireland, Six Nations, Twickenham, March 17, 2012
Alex Corbisiero has flown out to join the Lions © PA Photos

423 minutes of madness

  • The British & Irish Lions tour might have claimed its first victim, whether Cian Healy's tour is potentially over due to injury or suspension remains to be seen but it was a hugely eventful evening at the Patersons Stadium for the Lions staff.
  • At 18.26 (Perth time), referee Glen Jackson was checking with the TMO whether there had been any evidence of foul play after Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan alleged he had been bitten. At 18.42, Cian Healy lay stricken on the Perth turf, screaming in agony after picking up a leg injury.
  • After the game, Force coach Michael Foley said the alleged foul play incident would stay on the field and no further action would be taken. 20 minutes later, Warren Gatland confirmed Healy's leg was not broken but they were looking into ligament damage.
  • At 00.43, Healy was cited for an act 'contrary to good sportsmanship. By 01.29, the Lions coaching staff had made contact with England and Alex Corbisiero was readying himself to answer the SOS and fly from Argentina to Australia. The madness of the Lions tour has begun.
  • Tom Hamilton

Prop Alex Corbisiero has left England's touring party to join up with the British & Irish Lions as cover following the injury suffered by Cian Healy during Wednesday's game against the Western Force.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said in the aftermath of the Lions' 69-17 victory in Perth that they would wait to ascertain the seriousness of Healy's ankle ligament injury before thinking about adding a replacement to the squad, but Corbisiero has since been told to leave the England party in Argentina and fly out to Australia - suggesting Healy's tour may already be over.

"We're delighted for Alex," England coach Stuart Lancaster said. "It's very pleasing for him after he missed the Six Nations through injury and he goes with our full support and blessing. All the England players and management couldn't be more pleased for him to get this opportunity."

Gatland had previously indicated that Healy's injury would have to be serious for a replacement to be called out, with Mako Vunipola and Gethin Jenkins offering options at the position.

"We'll potentially talk about somebody tonight once we've found out what condition Cian's in and had a chat to him," Gatland said. "If it's a bit more serious then we'll have to quickly look at getting a replacement out."

An impending disciplinary hearing against Healy could also factor into Corbisiero's call-up. The Ireland prop is set to face a panel in Brisbane, having been charged with an act "contrary to good sportsmanship" after Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan alleged he had been bitten by his opponent midway through the first half.

Corbisiero has set his sights on earning a starting spot by the time the Test series with Australia rolls around. "I am going there to be first choice and to put my hand up," he said. "It's going to be a big challenge and there are so many quality players out there. Just to go out there is amazing, but once I'm out there I want to get in the Test team. I am really excited."

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