Prop idol advises Corbisiero
England's rising star bouyed by Leonard's words
By Tony Curtis - Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 16/03/11 7:40am
Corbisiero: Rising star
Rising England star Alex Corbisiero has been buoyed by the backing of his hero going into the Grand Slam decider against Ireland.
"I had a great conversation with him after the Scotland game. We were at the dinner and I saw an opportunity to introduce myself to him. Hearing him speak and taking his advice was a great experience."
Alex Corbisiero Quotes of the week
The London Irish prop has looked every bit an international player since making his debut against Italy in this season's RBS Six Nations.
However a meeting with his idol Jason Leonard, England's most-capped prop, has given Corbisiero a much-needed lift ahead of the trip to Lansdowne Road.
"I was very young when Jason was making his debut in the England side and by the time I had come through into rugby he was definitely a hero of mine," Corbisiero said.
"I had a great conversation with him after the Scotland game. We were at the dinner and I saw an opportunity to introduce myself to him.
"Hearing him speak and taking his advice was a great experience. He had some positive words about me which was really nice to hear from someone like him but I know I am not the finished article.
"He advised me to keep my head down and said that, at my age in this environment, you have to be a sponge and soak up as much information as possible because you will need it in the future. I really appreciated it."
England are just one win away from their first Grand Slam since 2003 but Corbisiero insists the squad will have to work to earn that honour.
"You are definitely aware that a Grand Slam is a possibility but it is not just going to happen," he said.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done. You have to earn the right to be called a Grand Slam team and that is what we have to do this weekend, against a great side who will be looking for redemption against us."
Meanwhile England scrum coach Graham Rowntree has hailed the impact Corbisiero has had since coming into the side.
"I am delighted how Corbs has come in and taken his chance," said Rowntree.
"He came in at the last minute for that Italy game and was really composed. He has taken it in his stride.
"His accuracy and his energy are exemplary. He did really well against France and again against Scotland. He made 18 tackles. He is very accurate in his work and he doesn't stop.
"He is a very coachable kid. The signs are he will be a fine prop and this Saturday is another step along the road."