Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2014 12:07 | By Agence France-Presse

Corbisiero hopes for Saints' success in English Premiership final

Alex Corbisiero insists the "heart-breaking" personal sacrifice to miss a rugby tour of New Zealand would certainly be eased a little by a collecting an English Premiership winners' medal at Twickenham on Saturday.


Corbisiero hopes for Saints' success in English Premiership final

Northhampton Saints' English prop Alex Corbisiero (C) is tackled during their European Challenge Cup rugby union final match against Bath, at Cardiff Arms Park in South Wales, on May 23, 2014 - by Adrian Dennis

The British and Irish Lions forward decided that, for his hopes of playing at next year's World Cup in England and long term future international aspirations, it will be best if he spent the European summer at home getting his body in perfect and prime condition for the huge challenges that lie ahead.

It means Northampton's 18 stone (114kg) loosehead prop will be a "frustrated TV fan" when Stuart Lancaster's patched up England squad go head to head with the world champion All Blacks in their own backyard during next month's three-Test series.

Corbisiero aims to go out with a bang by putting his hefty bulk to good use when two of the English club rugby's most powerful and formidable packs collide on the battlefield.

The 25-year-old who produced a man-of-the-match scrummaging and try scoring performance in the Lions series-winning Test with the Wallabies a year ago, has endured a six-month rehabilitation from a career-threatening knee injury to join Saints' late end of season bid for double success.

Last week saw Northampton beat English Premiership rivals Bath to win the European Challenge Cup final in Cardiff while, 24 hours later in the Welsh capital, Saracens lost in the European Cup final to a Toulon side captained by Jonny Wilkinson in the England great's final match in Britain before retirement. 

- Desperate Saracens -

"I'm sure they will be desperate to bounce back from losing out in Cardiff to Toulon but we have our own special reasons not to mess this one up," said Corbisiero, with Northampton having lost in last season's Premiership final to East Midlands rivals Leicester -- the team they beat in this term's semi-finals.

"Losing to Leicester last time was heart-breaking but hopefully we have learnt the lessons from that day and will not repeat them on Saturday," Corbisiero added.

"We simply have to keep our discipline and not let it damage our chances. One thing you must do in any game is to keep on the right side of the referee.

"We've not really dwelled on what happened on it too much but we know just how important it is to put things right this time.

"It would be absolutely massive for this club to get over the line and be English champions. It would be special.

He added: "We have good momentum right now coming off the back two very tense and tight wins in the play-off with Leicester and then the European Challenge Final.

"We have one trophy in the bag but naturally the Premiership is such a huge prize for all the clubs. 

"We set out on the campaign back in September and it takes a very good squad to win it in May.

"The reason I came to Northampton was to join a club competing regularly for the top honours and lifting trophies," the former London Irish forward explained.

"Therefore, finishing a season which has really only just begun for me personally with a second trophy and as Premiership champions would be incredible."

Meanwhile Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall is convinced his team can bounce back from their European Cup final loss and emulate their 2011 Premiership triumph in what will be captain and ex-England skipper Steve Borthwick's final match before the lock forward's retirement from playing rugby.

"I have total confidence in this group of players that they can pick themselves up and produce another great performance," McCall said.

"In top sport you have to take the rough with the smooth and just move on as soon as you can," the former Ireland centre added.

Saracens, who topped the regular season table, lost in last term's semi-finals to Northampton and McCall said: "We have a fantastic opportunity to be English champions for a second time in three years, and the players don't need me to remind them how big a match this is as well."

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