Rugby - Corbisiero handed Lions debut

England prop Alex Corbisiero will make his British and Irish Lions debut against a Combined Country XV in Newcastle on Tuesday.

PA Sport
Rugby - Corbisiero handed Lions debut

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Alex Corbisiero only joined up with the British and Irish Lions on Saturday

Corbisiero, who only arrived in Brisbane on Saturday from England's tour of Argentina, will start in a team captained by Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll. Corbisiero's fellow tour replacement Ryan Grant has been named on the bench, while Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg is handed fly-half duties.

Props Cian Healy (ankle ligaments) and Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) are set to fly home due to tour-ending injuries. The line-up for Tuesday also includes Wales centre Jamie Roberts, England prop Dan Cole, Scotland lock Richie Gray and Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip.

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe, meanwhile, is due to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his hand that he suffered against Queensland Reds on Saturday night. There is no suggestion, at this stage, that Bowe's tour is over.

Fly-half Jonathan Sexton meanwhile has had a scan on his hamstring after he reported tightness in it during the Reds game, but there are not thought to be any issues surrounding him.

"The Reds game was always going to be a big challenge, and I was delighted at the victory and the way we were tested," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said. "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."

Lions manager Andy Irvine added: "We are delighted to have kept our unbeaten record intact. We were pushed all the way by an extremely skilful and committed Reds team that played some brilliant intuitive rugby. However, I was incredibly proud of the way we responded and how we defended right to the bitter end."

British and Irish Lions team: S Maitland (Scotland); A Cuthbert (Wales), B O'Driscoll (Ireland, captain), J Roberts (Wales), G North (Wales); S Hogg (Scotland), C Murray (Ireland); A Corbisiero (England), R Hibbard (Wales), D Cole (England), R Gray (Scotland), I Evans (Wales), S O'Brien (Ireland), J Tipuric (Wales), J Heaslip (Ireland).

Replacements: R Best (Ireland), R Grant (Scotland), M Stevens (England), A-W Jones (Wales), T Faletau (Wales), M Phillips (Wales), J Davies (Wales), L Halfpenny (Wales).

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