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Corbisiero: I'm not making up numbers

Alex Corbisiero immediately set his sights on winning a Test place with the British and Irish Lions after being called up from England's tour of Argentina.

The 24-year-old prop will fly to Australia after being summoned as cover for Cian Healy, who suffered an ankle injury in the Lions' 69-17 victory over Western Force and also faces a biting allegation. But Corbisiero, who had been due to play for England against Argentina in Salta, insisted he is not heading Down Under just to make up the numbers.

"I am going there to be first choice and to put my hand up," Corbisiero said. "It's going to be a big challenge and there are so many quality players out there. Just to go out there is amazing, but once I'm out there I want to get in the Test team. I am really excited. I feel very proud to be included and involved in something as prestigious as the Lions."

If Corbisiero succeeds in forcing his way above England colleague Mako Vunipola and Wales' Gethin Jenkins he will emulate the likes of Ryan Jones in 2005 and Martin Corry in 2001, who both arrived late on tour and ended up in the Lions Test team.

"It is definitely possible to get in the Test team," Corbisiero said.

"I've just got to focus on my first game and to play well in that one and then the next one. I've not been told too much at the moment. Cian is just waiting to see what his injury is and Gethin has not played yet. They just want me as a precaution to see what happens really.

"I've had a lot of texts and messages now it has been announced. I'm just trying to stay calm. I've just got to keep my feet on the ground because there is a big challenge ahead."

Corbisiero, who will take four flights from Salta to Brisbane, via Santiago and Sydney, was informed of his call-up by Lancaster and then went for a walk to have a look around Salta, where England are gearing up to face the Pumas.

"I was really looking forward to the first Test against Argentina," said Corbisiero, whose place in the England starting line-up will be taken by Joe Marler.

"We have put a lot of hard work in and we have got an opportunity to put a statement down - Argentina is a hard place to win so part of me is gutted to miss that but part of me is excited to be out there with the Lions, which is one of the most prestigious things in rugby."


From Belfast Telegraph