Friday, February 11, 2011
Six Nations: England is in a New York State Of Mind
Here in the US, we are getting used to losing American-born talent to the land of their ancestors. In football( Soccer) New Jersey-born and raised striker Giusseppe Rossi decided to play for Italy in matches leading up to the FIFA World Cup. In an interesting bit of Karma, the Villareal striker was not picked to play for the Azzurri in last year's World Cup.(That does not diminish the fact that Rossi is a helluva player with Villareal)
Well, rugby is the latest sport where an American born player is playing for the land of his ancestors.
England prop Andrew Sheridan's back injury means that London Irish loose-head Alex Corbisiero gets a battlefield promotion to start in England's Six Nations match tomorrow against Italy at Twickenham. For his first international, Corbisiero, New York born with with an English mum and Italian grandparents on his father's side, has the unenviable task of going head to head against another bearded prop with Italian roots playing for a country not listed on his birth certificate: Argentine-born Martin Castrogiovanni is a formidable opponent in the scrum. That said, it won't be a first-time meeting of the props with Italian roots, as both ply their trade in England, with Castrogiovanni playing at Leicester.
To be fair, Corbisiero moved to England as a very young child. He also seems to have a bright head on his massive shoulders, as he also studied at the London School of Economics. He could have chosen to represent Italy, the USA or England. I cannot blame him for chosing to wear the England shirt. He will have much greater competition to keep his England shirt than if he had decided to play for the Eagles, but he in my opinion, it had to be a no-brainer to decide to play for England-look at the top flight opponents England play in the June and November internationals, as well as the Six Nations. Still, as an American rugby fan, you have to wonder "what if..."
As far as the predictions for the weekend: I pick Corbiseiro and his English mates to beat Italy-who almost had a famous victory over Ireland last weekend in Rome. Scotland will rebound at Murrayfield against Wales, and France will be the one road team that wins this weekend when they travel to Dublin to play Ireland.