Rugby Union

Corbisiero handed starting Lions Test place

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Alex Corbisiero has been handed a starting spot for the British & Irish Lions first Test match against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

The England international was a late call-up to the Lions squad following injury to Irishman Cian Healy.

But Warren Gatland has picked Corbisiero over countryman Mako Vunipola, and the 24-year-old prop will be one of eight Test debutants for the match this weekend.

Jonathan Davies will partner Brian O'Driscoll at centre as Jamie Roberts will miss out with a hamstring injury, while George North has been passed fit and will start on the wing.

But Corbisiero is the surprise selection from Gatland. The former-London Irish prop is set to join Northampton next season after spending an extended period on the sidelines after knee surgery earlier this year.

And speaking to his official Facebook page, Corbisiero admitted he feels honoured to get the chance to represent the Lions this weekend.

He said: "I am very proud and excited to be selected to start for the Lions against Australia on Saturday.

"I have just tried to focus on my own game and make sure my set-piece is accurate and work hard around the park. The coaches had a tough call because there are a lot of quality players out here! "

And Corbisiero insists he's fully fit and looking forward to proving it with the Lions this summer after a lengthy rehab.

Speaking to The Independent, Corbisiero said: "That's all in the past and I am looking forward to playing in a test match for the Lions and while some people may take it as a response to what has been said about my knee in the past, I am only concentrating on this match.

"Anyone who has doubts or questions marks over my career then I am trying every week to prove them wrong and show what I am capable of and that I have a long career ahead of me in this game.

The Lions starting XV to face Australia is as follows:

Halfpenny, Cuthbert, O'Driscoll, Davies, North, Sexton, Phillips, Heaslip, Warburton, Croft, O'Connell, A W Jones, Jones, Youngs, Corbisiero

Lions Replacements:

Hibbard, Vunipola, Cole, Parling, Lydiate, Youngs, Farrell, Maitland

British & Irish Lions
Rugby Union

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