British and Irish Lions 2017: 'Players not selected must train like they're going on tour'

Alex Corbisiero
Alex Corbisiero (left) was a late call-up to the Lions squad that beat Australia in 2013, playing in two Tests

Players not selected for the British and Irish Lions squad to face New Zealand this summer must train as if they are going on the tour, says 2013 series winner Alex Corbisiero.

The former England prop was not initially selected for the trip to Australia four years ago, but was called up as an injury replacement.

He went on to play a starring role in the third Test win over the Wallabies.

"It's a long way to go before you get to those Tests," Corbisiero, 28, said.

The tour, which runs from 3 June to 8 July, features three Tests against the All Blacks, who are world champions.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast, he added: "My advice to anyone who hasn't been selected is to stay ready and train like you are going, because you never know what is going to happen."

After missing out on Lions selection, Corbisiero went on tour to Argentina with England before being called into the Lions squad as cover for Ireland's Cian Healy.

"I felt like I was good enough to go on the tour, but I remember watching the announcement and deep down it did hurt," he added.

"I had a little bit of a sulk, a little bit of grieving, but then I used it as fire to make sure I trained harder. My last few games for London Irish, I went out there to try and put performances in and try and show I was a Test player.

"I genuinely trained as hard as I could, like I was going to go [on the Lions tour]. I went to Argentina and then I got the call. I turned up on that tour and in my head I was determined to prove I deserved to be there from the start."

'A tough pill to swallow'

Corbisiero also backed his former Northampton team-mate Dylan Hartley to recover from his Lions omission.

Hooker Hartley was one of a number of high-profile players to miss out on Warren Gatland's 41-man squad and will now captain England in Argentina this summer.

"Unfortunately Dylan has had to swallow a few tough pills before," Corbisiero added.

"A lot of the time they were maybe self-inflicted wounds, but this is one where he has actually not been selected, and it's not down to something he did, so it might be a new experience for him.

"But at the same time he is a very resilient character and he is strong willed. He is going to Argentina, he is going to be playing, he is going to be fit and ready, and there is probably a good chance he is going to be on that Lions tour."

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