Alex Corbisiero’s incredible Lions Tour


Alex Corbisiero’s incredible Lions Tour

Alex Corbisiero almost never wore the Lions jersey. As it turned out, he not only wore it but he wrote his name in Lions history.

2013 became a year he will never forget…

Injury had initially appeared to rule him out of selection for Warren Gatland’s squad.

But the stars aligned and the England loosehead prop got his chance at the expense of Cian Healy, whose injury against Western Force ruled him out of the rest of the Tour.

And from the moment Corbisiero received the call to become Lion #801, it quickly dawned on him that he was about to follow in the footsteps of some of rugby’s all-time greats.

“It probably wasn’t until I actually went out in 2013 that it really hit home how special the Lions is,” says Corbisiero

“It kind of hits home when you’re standing in a circle and you’ve got Sam Warburton speaking, there’s Paul O’Connell there, there’s Brian O’Driscoll, let alone Johnny Sexton and the others.

Despite being a late call-up, Corbisiero did enough to earn selection for the first Test in a powerful front three that included Tom Youngs and Adam Jones as the Lions won 23-21 in Brisbane.

But the elation of winning the Test was diluted by injury for Corbisiero.

“It was amazing to get the win and what a pressure reliever that can be if you get the first W. But at the same time, personally for myself, I actually injured my calf so that was frustrating,” he says.

A to Z of The British & Irish Lions

“It was impacting me the whole game. There was uncertainty if I was still going to be on the Tour, I was pretty positive I wouldn’t be playing the next week based on how it felt.

“At the same time, there’s also the feeling of, Kurtley Beale missed that kick right at the end and we could’ve lost, so as much as it was great to get the win, there’s a lot of work to be done.

“It also motivated me a lot when the third Test finally came around.”

The third Test proved to be the greatest in Corbisiero’s career as he demolished the Australian scrum.

King's Rugby Alex Corbisiero

He also scored the opening try of the contest, memorably being photographed celebrating under a sea of bodies, and was awarded man of the match for his titanic performance.

“A lot of people always remember the try for me and I’m grateful for that – what a way to start probably the biggest game of my career,” Corbisiero reflects.

“But really what I’m most proud of and what I sleep easy on is that was the pinnacle of my rugby career, the biggest game, the one time where it was all on the line and I had my best game.

“I think that’s probably my most complete – going on a Lions series, winning it, playing in the Tests, being able to play a part in the series and I feel like I contributed.

“It just means the world to me, the history and the way the Lions goes on and 801 is my number for life. That number is with me forever and nobody can take it away from me.”

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