ENGLAND DEBUT FOR CORBISIERO
Alex Corbisiero, the London irish prop, has replaced Andrew Sheridan in the England team to play Italy in the Six Nations. His grandfather Riccardo left Naples for America in the 1950s to run a restaurant in New York, so Corbisiero will be playing against the land of his forefathers at Twickenham tomorrow.
Sheridan reported soreness in his back following training on Thursday and the decision for him to make way was made after a review by the England medical team this morning.
The uncapped Corbisiero, 22, trained with England at Twickenham this morning having spent two days in the camp earlier this week as an injury replacement for Tim Payne.
A former IRB Junior World Championship finalist, he played for England Saxons in the 2010 Churchill Cup and against Italy A and Ireland A earlier this year.
England Team Manager Martin Johnson said: "Sheri has progressed a bit this morning but not enough and we made the call that Alex is starting.
"We have no qualms putting him in there at loose head and starting. David covers loose-head from the bench but Alex has more experience there.
"We trust all the squad to play. I had the conversation with Alex as we walked off the field on Tuesday. He was saying 'thanks for having me in'.
"I told him you are only an injury away from starting and you have got to be ready. He's strong, fit and he can play at this level. He's played against some of the best props in the world in the Premiership."
An appearance off the bench in the Guinness Premiership final for London Irish against Leicester Tigers in May 2009 completed a highly successful debut season for Alex Corbisiero. He played in 20 Premiership matches, including six starts but missed the opportunity to make his England Saxons’ debut when a knee injury prevented him from going to the Churchill Cup in Denver, Colorado. His initial appearances for the side were in the 2010 tournament.
Alex’s impressive physique casts him in the mould of a contemporary prop and he was introduced to the game at the age of five by his American father. Before joining the Irish in August 2005, he played for KCS Old Boys, London Scottish, Cobham and London Welsh. He initially appeared for Surrey Schools and after graduating to England Under 18s, figured in the World Championship for the Under 19s in 2007 and represented the USA at the same level.
Excellent form prompted his selection at tight-head for the 2008 Under 20s’ Six Nations when he started every match in a Grand Slam season. His first game was against Italy in Genoa, a highly appropriate debut because of his Italian-American background, having been born in New York City. He crashed over the first of his two tries in the tournament that year.
His grandfather Riccardo left Naples for America in the 1950s to run a restaurant in New York and Alex said: “Scoring against Italy is something I wanted to do because it is part of my heritage. I made sure that I swapped my shirt afterwards so I could have an Italian one for my grandfather.”
Alex, who has been studying at the London School of Economics, has also worn the green and white of Nottingham as well the emerald jersey of the Irish. He had a spell on loan with the Meadow Lane-based club in 2007-08. By the end of January 2011, three months after signing a new two year contract, he had played in 41 Premiership games and scored four tries.
Posted by: , on February 11th 2011 on 01:54pm