With all the distraction going on at present off the pitch with the English Rugby Union, at times it is easy to forget that the national side are deep in preparation for the World Cup. So far Martin Johnson has whittled his players down to a provisional 45-man squad ahead of the global tournament, but one man being tipped to almost certainly make the final cut of thirty will be London Irish’s loosehead prop, Alex Corbisiero.
Aged just 22, Corbisiero has risen up through the ranks of the English set-up to the point now where he found himself not just deputising for the then-injured Andrew Sheridan and Tim Payne during the recent Six Nations back in February. Not only did he fill in admirably on two occasions, the young forward virtually demolished the Italian front-row on that first outing, and as such now looks a certainty to be included in Johnson’s final squad that will travel to New Zealand. Those following the Betfair World Cup rugby betting will be wondering what sort of impact he will make.
One of his more high profile fans is 2003 World Cup winner Will Greenwood, who insists that despite his age and relative inexperience, the 18st loosehead will be key to England’s chances of again lifting the famous Webb Ellis trophy – both this year as well as on home soil in 2015.. Speaking this week, Greenwood lavished praise on the player.
“Alex has come from nowhere really to be an important man for the side and he has been very impressive in such a short space of time and will undoubtedly be very important in the upcoming World Cup campaign,” he said.
Because his position is so specialist, props don’t normally flower at the highest level until later in their careers, but Corbisiero is already a formidable talent in his own right. He is the youngest front-row in England’s training squad and further highlights the strength in depth being enjoyed at present by English rugby – especially when compared to the Welsh neighbours whose problems in the front row have been well-documented of late. Those following the rugby union odds will know all about it.
Now with Sheridan, Doran-Jones, Stevens and Payne all vying with him for that No. 1 shirt he will consider himself in good company – and England will feel that they are in safe hands.