Corbisiero: Mental toughness key for England in South AfricaBy Jonathan Low
June 01, 2012
Alex Corbisiero insists England will need to be mentally prepared if they are to overcome South Africa on their upcoming three-test tour.
The 23-year-old, who is travelling to the southern hemisphere alongside fellow Exile Jonathan Joseph, explained: “Test rugby is almost as much mental as it is physical.
“It’s a mixture of concentration, preparation, attitude and getting things right on the day.
“When the pressure comes on and you’re in a hostile environment, it’s about how you react and how you compose yourself.
“It will be tough and we will learn a lot about ourselves but it’ will be a great experience for us.”
The forward (pictured) is under no illusions about the size of the challenge facing the England side.
“There’s no hiding out there,” he said.
“We’re going to a very tough place and we’re going to have to meet the challenge head on.
“It’s going to be a gruelling and physical three weeks but it will be really exciting too.
“South Africa are a world-class side and a rugby-mad nation.
“It’s going to be a fast, physical game, and we’re going to have to match that physicality.”
Confidence within the camp is high, though, and Corbisiero believes it is important to take the momentum on from their Six Nations performances.
“Self-belief is going to be key, we have to go over there believing we can win.
“It’s definitely within us, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work.
“We’re building on what we’ve already achieved and with the new guys getting up to speed it’s a really positive environment.
“I feel we’re really gelling as a squad and things are looking bright.”
And the New-York born prop said it was great to see some of the London Irish players and staff around the national set-up.
“Mike Catt has been a massive boost for us, with his attacking play, attention to detail and also the passion he brings to the squad.
“It’s great to see guys like JJ (Jonathan Joseph) and Gibbo (James Gibson) here, players who have come through the London Irish Academy like myself.
“They were real stand-outs for us and it’s great to see them rewarded here.”