Alex wants pizza the action! New diet means England prop is hungry for return (let's hope he'll eat Springbok forwards for breakfast!)
23:14 GMT, 21 November 2012
They have named a pizza after Alex Corbisiero at his favourite Italian restaurant, where his strict gluten-and wheat-free diet is catered for. The owners would be well advised to stock up with the necessary ingredients before Saturday evening.
After a match, the prop heads there for a slap-up meal and Saturday's opponents are sure to leave him with a major appetite. Corbisiero will return to the England front row, charged with galvanising the scrum and playing his part in quelling the might of imposing – and famously carnivorous – Springbok forwards.
The 24-year-old, who was born in New York, says he is in prime condition after overcoming a knee injury, thanks to the benefits of his regulated eating habits. The pizza named in his honour conforms to his precise requirements.
Using his crust: Alex Corbisiero is back to take on the Springboks
'There's a restaurant in Kingston called Bruschetta – it's a gluten-and wheat-free Italian restaurant,' said Corbisiero. 'A few of the boys go there now. After a game, when I want to have my “bad” meal, there are not many options so I usually go there. That's the pizza I always get and they've put it on the menu.
'It has a gluten-free base, with buffalo mozzarella which is free of cow's milk, Italian sausage, chicken and pepperoni. It's a nice one.'
Explaining the circumstances behind his healthy eating, he said: 'It's been a year-and-a-half now. I had a blood test – recommended by the nutritionist at London Irish – and it said I was highly intolerant to wheat and gluten. I cut them out and I feel so much better. It's been a massive gain for me and it's helped me keep strict with it rather than breaking it. I've lost a lot of body fat. I'm still heavy, but I've definitely lost excess fat.
'I don't eat wheat or dairy so that cuts out a lot of bad stuff. It keeps me on the straight and narrow. I always felt a bit uncomfortable on game days, especially my stomach. It took a few months, but I'm feeling better, not as lethargic. Digestion, gas, things like that are a lot more comfortable.'
Lifting his game: The prop is on a strict diet
Corbisiero's return to the England team is a big plus for head coach Stuart Lancaster, who needed some encouragement in light of the defeat against Australia last week.
Injury restricted the loosehead to one replacement appearance on tour in South Africa in June. He was forced to pull out of the last Test – which England drew in Port Elizabeth – at the 11th hour, so he harbours a hunger to confront the Boks at Twickenham.
Insisting that he is ready for the ordeal, after two LV Cup games for his club, Corbisiero said: 'When you come into Test rugby you're always going to have to get certain things right as a pack – scrum and lineout, breakdown, physicality. That's especially relevant when you're playing South Africa. We need to make sure we give ourselves the best platform to win.'
His international recall comes at the expense of Joe Marler, who suffered an injury and a few indignities last weekby end, when England's scrum was trumped by an unheralded Australian pack. Corbisiero understands the scrutiny that he and the rest of the home forwards will be under. He knows there is pressure to make amends.
'We have a point to prove,' he said. 'That's going to spur us on. We're going to focus on our attention to detail and our mindset to make sure we rectify that.
Point to prove: England want to make amends for defeat to the Wallabies
'It's not going to be easy against South Africa but we've got to prove that we are a good scrum. Hopefully we'll show that. The boys were a little beaten up but we've got our sleeves rolled up and we know we've got to put a lot of things right. Everyone's really positive and motivated and we're back on the horse.
'South Africa have a heavy pack. They're physical, they're strong, they work together and they work hard. They're very efficient, very confrontational and direct. They're one of the bigger-sized packs in world rugby and you need to meet that challenge.'
Corbisiero will set about putting his words into action, knowing that when he's done and whatever the outcome, a few miles down the road there is a pizza with his name on it.