Corbisiero savours memorable debut
February 13, 2011
Alex Corbisiero charges the Italian defence © Getty Images
Alex Corbisiero enjoyed a dream debut for England in their 59-13 rout of Italy on Saturday and the London Irish prop has put his nerveless performance down to the quick turnaround between his selection and kick-off.
The New York-born 22-year-old was drafted into the starting line-up on Friday following an injury to Andrew Sheridan and played a prominent role as England continued a confident run of form.
"It was an amazing experience. It means a lot playing for your country. It was a great feeling - a real dream to be out there," he said. "They didn't make the decision I was playing until Friday morning.
"It was probably easier just getting chucked in than having a long build-up and having it dwell on your mind a bit.There weren't many scrums but I thought the set-piece was really good for us. We contested really well in the lineout well and I just got on with what I needed to do around the park.
"There is a lot of trust in the team. The boys trust each other to do their own role and that leaves you with a clear head to do your job. We were on the front foot and playing great rugby."
England expect Sheridan to be fit to face France and their destructive tight-head Nicolas Mas in two weeks' time but Corbisiero would relish another taste of Test rugby.
"You want to play for your country every time," he said. "Guys like Andrew Sheridan will probably be back. I stepped in and feel like I had a good performance. I have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to play this week."
Corbisiero has built a reputation as England's 'hip-hop prop' in recent days after YouTube footage of his freestyling became common knowledge and he put his own spin on the traditional song expected of debutants after Saturday's game.
Northampton flanker Tom Wood sang Delilah on the team bus after making his debut in England's opening victory over Wales last week but Corbisiero came up with his own rhyme, about England's biggest Six Nations victory in a decade.
"Usually all the bottles get thrown at you and everyone started to do that for about five seconds and then realised 'actually, we want to hear this - it is brilliant'," Wood said. "He was rapping about the game, how good we were, how great it was to be part of it. It just rolls off his tongue. He ad-libs and he is brilliant at it. I have never heard anything like it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton