British and Irish Lions: Alex Corbisiero called into starting XV

By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC.   Last Updated: 11/06/13 10:23am

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Alex Corbisiero has been thrown straight into the British and Irish Lions line-up for the clash with the Combined Country XV.

The England loosehead prop only teamed up with the squad on Saturday afternoon after a mammoth trip from Salta in Argentina - with Corbisiero travelling via Buenos Aires, Santiago in Chile, Auckland and Sydney before finally arriving in Brisbane.

However with Gethin Jenkins and Cian Healy both heading home and Mako Vunipola having appeared in the last two matches, Corbisiero has been thrust straight into action.

Ryan Grant, who has also arrived as cover following the injury setback for Jenkins, starts on the bench as Brian O'Driscoll takes over the captaincy.


Head coach Warren Gatland has opted to take Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell out of the firing line, with Stuart Hogg taking over in the No 10 jersey.

Hogg, Alex Cuthbert and Richie Gray all start for the second successive match following the 22-12 win over the lines, while George North, Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Justin Tipuric all came off the bench at the Suncorp Stadium.

Sean Maitland moves across to cover at full-back - with Rob Kearney still not fully fit following his hamstring injury - while Conor Murray starts at scrum-half.

Lions fans, though, will be excited to see O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts team up in the centres for the first time since the 2009 tour.

Ian Evans, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip also come into the starting XV, while Rory Best, Matt Stevens, Alun-Wyn Jones, Tobt Faletau, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies and Leigh Halfpenny will provide cover on the bench alongside new-boy Grant.

Gatland said: "The Reds game was always going to be a big challenge and I was delighted at the victory and the way we were tested. It was a very physical match as we knew it would be. We now move on to Newcastle and another challenge.

"This team to play Country includes three players - Richie Gray, Alex Cuthbert and Stuart Hogg - who are starting their second game in a row plus another George North who came off the bench early against the Reds. This is the nature of Lions tours as we adapt to injuries and playing twice a week."

British and Irish Lions: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Stuart Hogg, 9 Conor Murray, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Ian Evans, 6 Sean O'Brien, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alun-Wyn Jones, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Leigh Halfpenny

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