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Corbisiero: Olympics can inspire us

Alex Corbisiero believes that England's rugby players can use spectacular British success at the London 2012 Olympics as an inspirational template for their World Cup campaign.

It might have been three years ago, but memories of golden Olympic glory remain fresh.

The Great Britain team won 65 medals in London, including 29 gold, sparking celebratory scenes across a nation as superstars like Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis (now Ennis-Hill) took centre stage.

If host nation England reach the World Cup final on October 31, then six of their seven games will have been at Twickenham, guaranteeing fervent and passionate support.

"There will be an expectation on us, but at the same time, I feel that will bring the best out of us," Northampton prop Corbisiero told Press Association Sport.

"I feel we will thrive on being at home and having the nation behind us, similar to, hopefully, 2012 when the London Olympics were on.

"The GB athletes in 2012 had a lot of expectation on them, but they thrived under that pressure and that support of the nation, and hopefully we will be able to replicate something very similar.

"We are in a good place. We are under no illusions of how hard it is going to be and the challenges ahead of us, but at the same time morale is high and the competitiveness is very high.

"It's a good, positive environment, and at the same time a very hard environment because we are working very hard physically and mentally to get the edge and put ourselves in the best position possible, going forward."

Corbisiero is currently part of an extended England training squad being put through some gruelling paces at their Surrey base.

Plans are geared towards World Cup warm-up games against France (home and away) in August, followed by Ireland at Twickenham on the opening weekend of September.

World Cup business then begins in earnest against opening opponents Fiji on September 18, with Wales and Australia also lying in wait as part of undoubtedly the tournament's toughest group that will produce only two quarter-finalists.

"It's good to be in the environment and good to have an opportunity to be involved in something as special as the World Cup," added 19 times-capped Corbisero, who is supporting England Rugby's Every Voice Counts campaign.

"Across the board, there is so much competition for places, especially in my position. It is going to be very tight as to who makes it into that final (squad) cut.

"I am just going to do everything I can, especially in the warm-up games, when there is an opportunity to put your hand up. To be involved in that final 31 would be very special and a great privilege.

"At the moment, my focus is those warm-up games and getting involved.

"Looking ahead to the tournament, getting out of that group is going to be a big challenge. It's very hard to predict how you think you are going to do, but you have got to go in there confident and with self-belief that you will be victorious on the day."

The Every Voice Counts campaign gives fans the opportunity to upload their versions of the chorus to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot on to the England Rugby Facebook page for a chance to star in the official 2015 World Cup single with singer and songwriter Ella Eyre.

"It is an amazing to have the campaign on board and to have a performer like Ella involved. It gives fans at home an opportunity to get involved and help support us," Corbisiero said.

"We are very fortunate. The crowds and the public have got behind us massively, and when you play at Twickenham you are so aware of that vocal backing, and it definitely helps carry you through during big moments in games."

::To find out more about Every Voice Counts go to:


From Belfast Telegraph