Rugby World Cup
Corbisiero laments Sheridan blow
September 14, 2011
Corbisiero could step into the void left by the departing Sheridan © Getty Images
Andrew Sheridan's possible replacement Alex Corbisero admits it is a huge blow to have lost a player of the Sale prop's quality after the front-row was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a shoulder injury.
Sheridan had scans on his left shoulder after England's 13-9 victory over Argentina and surgeons back in the UK, who studied the images, advised he should return home. The Sale prop had battled back from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder to make the World Cup squad.
England's management are waiting for tournament organisers to officially ratify Sheridan's departure before settling on the identity of a replacement. "Sheri worked really hard over the summer to come back from injury and has put in two very good performances. It is very disappointing," Corbisiero said. "I was aware he had a niggle form the weekend but I didn't realise the severity of it until I heard a couple of the boys talking about it.
"I just wish him all the best. He's a world-class player. He's a big hero of mine. I think the squad will miss him, but we've just got to get on with it now and go forward as a team in the tournament."
England selected five props in their 30-man squad and have the resources to cover for Sheridan's absence against Georgia this weekend. Corbisiero is the only other specialist loosehead in the squad and is likely to make his World Cup debut on Sunday, but Matt Stevens and David Wilson are capable of playing both sides.
"When my opportunity comes I'll be ready to take it and make the most of it," Corbisiero added. "Responsibility will fall on all of us, as a front row, as a pack. There's four of us (props) left here and it's going to be a big job for all of us.
"Losing someone with the experience of Sheridan is tough, but it will make us stronger and pull together. We have four good players there."
Corbisiero made his Test debut against Italy in the Six Nations after Sheridan had pulled out with a calf injury. "I've learned a lot from Sheri. He has been through a lot," said the London Irish prop. "He has played in a lot of tough games, he's played Lions, he's a big carrier, he's got a great workrate for a big guy and his set piece is very effective as well.
"He was helpful to me, but it wasn't like taking me under his wing - there was mutual respect and he is more than willing to talk to you and to help you out. He's a great guy. I just feel for him."
It has not been a good 24 hours for England. Sheridan's exit came the morning after manager Martin Johnson heard that Courtney Lawes had received a two-week ban for striking Mario Ledesma with his knee.
Sheridan has had three shoulder operations in two years, two of them after dislocating his left shoulder playing for Sale in October 2009. "It's really sad for Sheri. He has been unlucky with injuries and we wish him all the best for his recovery," England manager Martin Johnson said.
"We brought five props so we have options there and we can bring another player out, but we will decide what to do about that in due course."
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