Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Corbisiero hails Vunipola

Mako Vunipola was included in the British and Irish Lions squad for Australia
Mako Vunipola was included in the British and Irish Lions squad for Australia

England prop Alex Corbisiero is relishing the chance to resume his loosehead duel with Mako Vunipola.

Vunipola was included in the British and Irish Lions squad for Australia but it was Corbisiero, who was called up only when injury struck, who started the first and third Tests.

The 24-year-old Northampton-bound front row missed the second Test in Melbourne with a calf problem and his return for the Sydney decider saw the Lions dominate at the scrum.

England face autumn fixtures against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand and Corbisiero is almost certain to start with Vunipola providing firepower from the bench.

"I really enjoy being in the squad with Mako. He's a good guy on and off the field, an outstanding player," Corbisiero said.

"What he's achieved in the last year has been incredible. The competition will only strengthen both of us.

"We'll both be fighting to start, but also be happy to come off the bench. It's a position of strength because there's Joe Marler as well."

Corbisiero emerged as a key member of the Lions team and he admits the experience surpassed all expectations.

"Playing in those Tests was incredible. The experience is very hard to describe, it was incredible," he said.

"I underestimated how special a Lions tour is, so to experience it first hand was incredible.

"Being in the same dressing room with Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and Sam Warburton - the last three Lions captains in one team - is something I'll always remember."

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