Alex Corbisiero: From Lions greatness to his cancer journey


Alex Corbisiero

Alex Corbisiero relished a battle on the field and he had to take that warrior spirit into the toughest test he has faced to date.

Lion #801, who shone on the 2013 Tour of Australia, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2019 and has opened up on his journey in a new video on the British & Irish Lions YouTube channel.

The prop, now 35, was a late replacement for the injured Cian Healy a decade ago and went on to have a significant impact on the victorious Tour.

Corbisiero, whose love of rap kept his teammates entertained during down time, admitted he thought his trip might be over almost before it had begun when he picked up a calf injury in the first Test.

But he recovered in time to feature in the decider in Sydney, scoring an early try to set the tone for a dominant display which ended with the tourists running out 41-16 winners and Corbisiero named player of the match.

Reflecting on his score, he recalled: “As I saw [Mike] Phillips pick up the ball […] I knew that the line or the opening was there, and luckily I fell on the right side.

“It sits with me as one of my best days and thank God it was on one of the biggest stages.”

Six years on from the highest of highs, Corbisiero’s world was turned upside down when his cancer was diagnosed, and it later spread to his lymph nodes leading to a further spell of chemotherapy.

Now looking to ‘make the most of his second opportunity’, likening his experience to how he seized his chance in the famous red shirt of the Lions, he continues to use his platform to raise awareness.

“It [the diagnosis] was quite a sobering moment, I’ll never forget it,” he said. “I’ve tried to learn, grow and be a stronger person from it.”

“Without rugby, I feel like it would have been a very different journey for me.

“That equipped me very well to deal with the adversity and helped me have that inner resilience to back myself and push through.”

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