Men Behind the Tour: No.5 – Alex Corbisiero

To measure Alex Corbisiero's contributions to the British & Irish Lions' historic series win over Australia - you only need look at the scrummaging statistics. [more]

Men Behind the Tour: No.5 – Alex Corbisiero

To measure Alex Corbisiero’s contributions to the British & Irish Lions’ historic series win over Australia – you only need look at the scrummaging statistics.

Starting the first and third Tests but missing the second with a calf injury, the stats show that the Lions scrum was far stronger with loosehead prop Corbisiero in their front row.

Not to take away from Mako Vunipola, who filled the void in the second Test and made a ferocious amount of tackles and carries, but Northampton Saints’ new signing seemed to have the measure of his Qantas Wallabies counterparts.

In the first Test the Lions won five scrums to Australia’s three while in his absence the Wallabies had the edge in Melbourne, winning seven to the tourists’ four.

But with Corbisiero restored to the line-up for the decider, the Lions were dominant at the set-piece, prevailing ten times to just three for Australia, which eventually resulted in Ben Alexander’s sin-binning.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

Corbisiero also grabbed the all-important first try – as early as the first minute – as the Lions came flying out of the blocks and seized the early momentum.

Reflecting on that try, it was far from a formality. Mike Phillips’ disguised pass created the opening for Corbisiero but he still had a lot to do and showed great athleticism to force his way over.

Not bad for someone who was not in the original touring party after an injury-hit season, but was seconded to Australia by Warren Gatland, who later named Corbisiero his personal man of the match for the third Test

“It’s been a tough year and this has been the perfect way to end it,” he said. “But I’ve always known what I am capable of when I get it right and I’m fit and healthy.

“In the back of your mind, you always hope to make it here.

“My goal from the start of the season was to be involved in the Lions tour.

“It felt like I’d had it taken away from me without the opportunity to lay down a marker in the Six Nations. But once I had the opportunity, I was totally determined to make the most of it. If the door opens, just try to walk through it.

“At Test level there is no substitute for set-piece domination, maintaining the pressure and taking the penalties on offer, because it’s the other team who are left chasing the scoreboard.

“A Lions tour is something really special and I feel so privileged to experience it and come out of it with a winning series.

“There is no tomorrow as a Lion, no next year. It may never happen again for you. This was the mentality we all had – that it was our opportunity to wear the shirt for ever.”

Previous story Halfpenny targets all-round excellence
Next story Folau try not enough for Australia
Download