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Corbisiero and Grant offer set-piece solidity for the Lions

| 17.06.2013

Props Ryan Grant and Alex Corbisiero are not just Down Under to make up the numbers and there is every chance that one of them will start the first Test in Brisbane at loosehead.

Mako Vunipola has been one of the outstanding performers for the Lions in Australia, but the Saracens man was seemingly never likely to start against the Wallabies.

Injuries to Cian Healey and Gethin Jenkins have pushed him straight to the front of the queue but it was not a role the 22-year-old was expecting to fill.

It was clear Warren Gatland included the rampaging Vunipola in his original squad for his potential impact coming off the bench, a role he has fulfilled in all but one of his nine England caps.

As with most Lions tours, injuries have forced a rethink from Gatland and forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

Subsequently, Scotland loosehead Grant and England number one Corbisiero have been given the chance to stake their claims for a Test jersey.

Vunipola is not recognised for his scrummaging. His recent strong showings in this department for the Lions have been tempered by the fact that the opposition has been decidedly weak.

In the same vein, it would be unfair on Vunipola to laud Corbisiero’s performance against the Combined Counties pack on Tuesday as they posed about as many questions as a rusty scrum-machine. The Australian pack will be a different beast entirely.

It is a common misconception that the Aussies are weak in the front-row, which England found out the hard way during their 20-14 defeat at Twickenham last Autumn, Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander showing they are high-class performers – both at scrum time and around the park.

If the Lions are going to bully and out-muscle Australia, they must do it in the epicentre of dominance: the scrum.

Therefore, selecting an insurmountable object like Grant or Corbisiero is surely not far from the thoughts of the Lions think-tank.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Liam Clarke