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Corbisiero raring to go for Lions

Latest British and Irish Lions addition Alex Corbisiero has declared himself "fit and ready" to face the challenges that lie ahead after swapping Argentina for Australia.

This time last week, Corbisiero was preparing for England's first Test match against the Pumas in Salta. On Tuesday, though, he will run out for the Lions against a Combined Country XV in Newcastle after being summoned as a replacement alongside Scotland's Ryan Grant following the injury-enforced departures of Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins.

"The vibe in the camp is incredible," Corbisiero said. "To have all these guys from different countries, and everyone is on the same page, everyone is nice and the banter is flying around. It's like being on any other team, and I think that is a very special thing. They have been very welcoming to me, and I am very grateful."

Corbisiero missed out on the Lions' original 37-man squad selection, although he admits it was not a surprise to him given his battle against long-standing knee trouble.

"When you are injured, you can't focus on things you can't control," he added. "I had only just had two games back for fitness after about five months when they picked the Lions, so I wasn't really too upset or anything with the decisions they made, purely because I didn't think I was at full fitness.

"I completely understood the way they went. Mako (Vunipola) has had a tremendous season. He has been outstanding, and has been outstanding here. So I just focused on myself, and that was getting back fit, back playing at London Irish and getting back with England. I just feel fit and ready and very grateful to have this opportunity."

The composite Country side are expected to provide the Lions' weakest opposition on tour, with another big win anticipated following 50 points-plus victory margins against the Barbarians and Western Force.

"There is a lot of rugby between now and the first Test," Corbisiero said. "I am looking forward to putting my hand up, and if it comes it comes, if it doesn't it doesn't, but I am going to try to make the most of the opportunity I have been given.

"I feel very good. It has been a frustrating year with injury, but it is one of those things I can't do anything about. You control the controllables, and that was being patient and making sure I got my knee right and got back to full fitness. I feel fresh and ready and match-fit.

"Being injured is never fun, but friends and family help pull you through and stay positive. I've done everything I can to get right, and I feel very grateful to be here and have such an opportunity to do something as prestigious as the Lions."


From Belfast Telegraph