Fit-again Corbisiero backed to make impact
May 15, 2014
Alex Corbisiero goes on a run on his return to action last weekend © Getty Images
Fit-again Alex Corbisiero can have a "massive influence" on the closing stages of Northampton's Aviva Premiership derby semi-final against Leicester on Friday, according to Jim Mallinder.
Corbisiero is on Northampton's bench for the game at Franklin's Gardens after making his first appearance since suffering knee problems in October when the Saints overwhelmed Wasps 74-13 on Saturday.
Saints are likely to pitch Corbisiero into action on or around the hour-mark, and Northampton director of rugby Mallinder backed him to wreak havoc in the decisive exchanges.
"You have to be careful with how you bring players back, but someone like Alex Corbisiero is a world-class player, he's shown that with the British Lions last year. He hadn't played much rugby but got called up I think from the England tour, and he was outstanding there, so he's proven he doesn't need a whole season behind him, that he can step onto the biggest stage and still perform with limited game-time."
George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood all return to Northampton's starting line-up, with Phil Dowson captain and Calum Clark on the bench. Courtney Lawes returns at lock after being rested for the comfortable victory over Wasps, with Sam Dickinson at No.8.
Leicester bring six internationals back into their starting line-up after fielding a weakened side for their victory over Saracens last weekend. British Lions lock Geoff Parling, Rob Hawkins, Blaine Scully and Stankovich miss out through concussion, with Leicester hinting the quartet would have been available with an extra day's rest.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill has already shrugged off injury issues as the Tigers compete in their 10th successive Premiership play-off run. "We've come through 22 tough rounds of Aviva Premiership rugby, everyone has worked really hard, and we've shown a lot of resilience to get here," he said. "Now it comes down to 80 minutes on Friday for a place in the final.
"Saints have had a very good season, they've been on good form, but we've been in decent form too and we will do our best to go there and try to win. It's a local derby and a semi-final, it should be a heck of a game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre insists Les Bleus are "not far away" as they look to remain in Six Nations title contention at Wales' expense on Saturday
Joe Schmidt has acknowledged Ireland must adapt their approach to cope without "big-game player" Jamie Heaslip in Sunday's Six Nations Grand Slam eliminator against England
Jenson Button says he is encouraged by his first impression of the 2015 Force India but says it is way too early to gauge the car's performance
France lock Pascal Pape has appealed against his 10-week ban for kneeing Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in the back, claiming the suspension "was excessive and disproportionate"
Daniil Kvyat thinks there is more to come from Renault's power unit before Melbourne after he completed his final day of winter testing
Kempton Park and which other course have a race named after Desert Orchid?
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
An honest England side have been searching for the heir to Jason Robinson for nearly a decade. Step forward Jonathan Joseph, writes Simon Barnes
Piers Morgan has declared himself "hurt" over former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson's claims that he is not an authentic fan of the club
The ARU must be applauded for its decision to introduce a pitch-side video review to assist match-day doctors with concussion assessments, Greg Growden writes
Nani has revealed Louis van Gaal has not spoken to him during his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon
Martin Murray has revealed he was taken aback by his fight with middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin, but only because the Kazakh did not punch as hard as he thought he would
Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the Premier League's television scheduling, saying it gives Manchester City an advantage over his Liverpool side heading into their crucial clash on Sunday
Chelsea have told fans attending the League Cup final against Tottenham on Sunday that they will take the strongest action against any fans involved anti-Semitic chanting against Spurs supporters
The winner of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao's mega-fight will be rewarded with a new, specially commissioned WBC belt, it has been announced
Charlton are investigating footage that appears to show a couple having sex on the club's pitch
Chris Eubank Jr tells Inside Boxing of his hopes of a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders - and a dream showdown with the formidable Gennady Golovkin
Tottenham's League Cup final preparations are in full swing with the club set to duke it out with Chelsea at Wembley this coming Sunday
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
How often has a team that lost its opening Championship match gone on to take the title outright?