Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Corbisiero to miss Australia clash

England's Alex Corbisiero, pictured, will miss the match against Australia
England's Alex Corbisiero, pictured, will miss the match against Australia

England must enter their opening QBE International against Australia without the British and Irish Lion responsible for demolishing the Wallabies' scrum in July.

Alex Corbisiero has been ruled out of Saturday's Cook Cup showdown at Twickenham with a knee injury but expects to return against Argentina a week later.

The 25-year-old loosehead was instrumental in the Lions' series-clinching 41-16 victory in Sydney, routing opposite number Ben Alexander at the scrum to the extent the Wallaby prop was sin-binned and then substituted to complete his humiliation.

Mako Vunipola is now set to start on Saturday with Joe Marler deputising on the bench, but head coach Stuart Lancaster is confident Corbisiero will figure against Argentina and New Zealand.

"Alex won't be available for Australia but he's looking good for the following weekend," Lancaster said.

"We need to make sure we manage his return to play and recovery over the next four or five days."

Lancaster is confident hooker Dylan Hartley and prop David Wilson will be available for selection when the team is announced on Thursday morning.

Hartley and Wilson are suffering from ankle and calf injuries respectively, resulting in Rob Webber and Henry Thomas being added to the squad as injury cover on Sunday night.

"Dylan and David are making good progress and I'm pretty optimistic that both will be available to train fully, definitely by Thursday," Lancaster said.

"Dylan can throw in the line-outs, we just don't want to a risk him in the live session on Tuesday. They've both played a lot of rugby this season."

Australia have lost seven of their 10 matches this year but triumphed 20-14 at Twickenham last November and it is that result that Lancaster believes has greatest relevance to Saturday.

"The Wallabies are improving massively in their quality of performances. I saw them play Argentina and New Zealand and they were right up there," he said.

"We know we face a massive threat against them. They're a good side with quality players. We won't be taking them for granted - we lost to them last year."

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