Usyk vs Chisora: Live stream of countdown show on Sky Sports News

Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight clash with Derek Chisora is edging closer – and you can watch a live stream of our ‘Countdown Show’ on Sky Sports News.

The Ukrainian pound-for-pound star battles Chisora on Saturday night at Wembley Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with the winner remaining firmly in contention for a world heavyweight title fight.

Catch up on all the latest news on our ‘Countdown Show’, which will be streamed on the Sky Sports website and app, Sky Sports Boxing Twitter, Sky Sports Boxing YouTube, and Sky Sports Boxing Facebook.

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Chisora took centre stage at Thursday’s press conference as he appealed for a ‘fair referee’ at the weekend, raising concerns that he would be denied the chance to engage Usyk in a brutal battle.

“I need a fair referee, and fair judges, that’s all I’m asking,” he said.

“They took points off me and I thought I was behind and I lost my shape, and my fight. Just be fair.

“I don’t want to be dancing in the ring, like wrestling, I want both of us to work. I want the fans to enjoy this fight, that’s what I want.

“I have to just keep moving my head, keeping my hands up, and just keep marching forward. He will try to wrong-foot me, as all southpaws do, but we’re ready for that. It’s going to be a big surprise when we’re in the ring.”

Watch Usyk vs Chisora on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber, you can book and watch it here.

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Six Nations 2020: Super Saturday talking points

We look at the talking points ahead of 2020’s Six Nations Super Saturday, which could see England, Ireland or France take the title…

France vs Ireland (8.05pm)

Johnny Sexton has challenged Ireland to honour Cian Healy’s 100th cap by claiming a fourth Six Nations crown in seven years.

British and Irish Lions prop Healy will bring up his Test century in Saturday’s mouth-watering showdown against France in Paris.

Ireland can add another Six Nations crown to their 2014, 2015 and 2018 triumphs at the Stade de France – but must pull off an unprecedented bonus-point win in the French capital to be certain of holding off title rivals England.

Ireland are currently a point clear of both England, who face rock-bottom Italy in Rome, and France in the Six Nations table.

Captain Sexton believes Ireland can carve out the openings for four scores in Paris, but conceded converting them will be a different matter entirely against the resurgent hosts.

Asked to explain the size of the task, Sexton said: “I suppose we just have to wait and see, all we can control at the moment is our performance.

“So we’ve just had to emphasise to everyone that we need to get the performance right no matter what. We’re still going to have to play well no matter what, so let’s focus on that aspect.

“We know if we perform well we’ll create chances, so we’ll have to take them, we’ll need to be clinical.”

For France, lock Bernard Le Roux has been cleared to play after a hearing into an act of foul play against Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.

Second-row forward Le Roux was accused of striking Jones with a forearm during France’s 38-21 friendly win in Paris on Saturday.

Le Roux told an independent disciplinary committee on Tuesday that he had made contact with Jones but denied that it had been an act of foul play.

“The disciplinary committee found that Mr Le Roux had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of Law 9.12) but that it had not warranted a red card, and that Mr Le Roux is therefore free to resume playing immediately.”

France’s only hope of the title is to beat Ireland by a better margin than England manage against Italy – or hope England lose to Italy for the first time.

  • France team news
  • Ireland team news

Italy vs England (4.45pm)

England forwards coach John Mitchell believes Billy Vunipola is ready to answer the call in Saturday’s Six Nations finale in Italy.

Saracens No 8 Vunipola has not played since his club’s final Premiership match against Bath on October 4, and not for England since the 2019 World Cup final on November 2.

England can lift the Six Nations trophy if they secure a bonus-point win in Rome and other results go their way.

Mitchell said: “Billy has a huge capacity for work. He’s a guy that has regularly played 80 minutes in his Test career.

“It’s phenomenal how he’s able to keep pushing on to the ball and contribute in the way that he does.”

England head coach Eddie Jones has always maintained Vunipola needs to be play regularly to be at his best, but Mitchell suggested the back-row could have a big part to play.

“It’s just a unique quality that he has,” Mitchell added. “You never judge the book by its cover I guess, it’s what’s inside.

“He’s highly motivated and he’s proved that in the past as well.”

England are expected to beat Italy handsomely, but as mentioned above, both France and Ireland can still win the Championship.

It promises to be a thrilling last round of matches, but Mitchell would not be drawn on whether England will start the weekend as favourites.

“Firstly our goal is to win the Six Nations and we’ll need to set the tone right from the start,” he said. “We’ll also need to be at our best.

“We keep that focus and we maintain our intent and if we’re very good we’ll give ourselves every opportunity.

“We’ve got an opportunity to demonstrate our pride and also the privilege which comes with being back playing for England.

“It’s an opportunity for us to put smiles on people’s faces during a really tough time and I know it might sound generic because you’re probably hearing that from all sportsmen, but that time has arrived for us.

“That’s really important to us. Preparation is extremely important but there comes a time when you’ve got to deliver and make sure you wholeheartedly create a smile and give the country something to look forward to.”

In terms of team news, Exeter’s Jonny Hill will make his England debut after coach Eddie Jones named him as lock partner to Maro Itoje for the game in Rome.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs will win his 100th cap, while there are three uncapped players on the bench – hooker Tom Dunn, powerful centre Ollie Lawrence and winger Ollie Thorley, while Dan Robson is the backup scrum-half.

To finish top England would need to secure their bonus point, make up the 23-point deficit on Ireland, and then better any further points difference advantage Ireland might gain with a non-bonus point win.

Jones said he would approach the game the same way as usual, despite the need for tries. “We’ve just been focussed on maximising our performance,” he said. “We have to be disciplined and focussed on playing to our absolute best, and every minute presents an opportunity.”

  • England team news

Wales vs Scotland (2.15pm)

Stephen Jones says Wales are under no illusions about the importance of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Scotland.

Wales might be comfortably out of title contention when the tournament reaches its climax, but last season’s Grand Slam champions are on the back of four successive defeats under head coach Wayne Pivac – Wales’ worst results sequence since 2016 – which underlines their Six Nations finale’s significance in Llanelli.

“Pressure is an interesting word, isn’t it? It depends how you see that as an individual,” Jones said.

“We are under no illusions. This is must-win for us, and we are really excited by that challenge.

“As a group, we want closure on the Six Nations campaign, and we have got to do it in a positive manner and we have got to get the result.”

Wales have not won a game since beating Italy 42-0 in their opening Six Nations fixture almost nine months ago.

Subsequent losses to Ireland, France and England – then France again in Paris three days ago – also saw them concede 15 tries.

  • Wales team news
  • Scotland team news

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Six Nations: Finn Russell set to start for Scotland against Wales

Finn Russell will start for Scotland in their final Six Nations contest against Wales on Saturday.

Adam Hastings drops to the bench to make way for the fly-half, who will make his first Six Nations appearance this year.

Captain Stuart Hogg and second-row forward Jonny Gray return to the side in the wake of their double-winning exploits with Exeter.

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Duhan van der Merwe drops to the bench following his try-scoring debut against Georgia, with Blair Kinghorn taking his place on the wing after vacating Hogg’s full-back position.

Scarlets No 8 Blade Thomson also comes in to start on his home ground in Llanelli in place of the injured Matt Fagerson, while Ben Toolis also drops to the bench.

Racing 92 stand-off Russell fell out of the equation following a disciplinary issue ahead of the Six Nations in January but has repaired his relationship with head coach Gregor Townsend and made an impact off the bench in Friday’s 48-7 win over Georgia.

Townsend said: “It’s been great to bring in quality and experience to our starting line-up with players such as Stuart, Jonny and Finn who have been involved in some high-level games in recent weeks.

“We were also encouraged by Blade’s display at the weekend for Scarlets, which is a timely boost given last weekend’s injury to Matt Fagerson.”

Townsend, whose side beat Italy and France after narrow defeats by Ireland and England, added: “As a group we are very much looking forward to finally completing our fixture against Wales and returning to play Six Nations rugby again.

“We were highly motivated back in March, and that extra edge has come back into our training and preparations this week.

“We are expecting a physical battle against a very good side, one which we will be working hard to stay in the fight and to finish the fight in Llanelli.

“Ultimately, this game provides an opportunity for us to end this extended championship on a positive note and go into the Autumn Nations Cup with some added belief in what this group of players can achieve.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14. Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 James Lang, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Fraser Brown, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Blade Thomson.

Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Duhan van der Merwe.

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New Zealand Open cancelled over coronavirus uncertainty

Organisers of next year’s New Zealand Open have cancelled the event because of uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament was scheduled to be held on two courses in the South Island town of Queenstown in February.

“We are extremely disappointed to have had to come to this decision,” organising committee chairman John Hart said in a statement on Thursday.

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“But the effects of the pandemic, borders being closed, and the financial risk associated with a potential later cancellation due to any further Covid-19 outbreaks means we have no other alternative other than to cancel this event now.”

Hart said they had expected up to 300 people from overseas to attend the tournament.

New Zealand has closed its borders to anyone but returning citizens or permanent residents and while overseas visitors can apply for an exemption, they must meet stringent conditions and are rarely granted.

All arrivals must also still undergo 14-days isolation with short-term visitors charged for their stay in government-run facilities.

The cancellation of the New Zealand Open follows that of Australia’s four major golf tournaments, all of which were also scheduled for February.

Gleneagles to host 2022 Senior Open

Gleneagles has been announced as the venue for The Senior Open presented by Rolex in 2022, the first time the Scottish course has hosted a senior major.

Gleneagles hosted Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at 2014 and Europe’s dramatic Solheim Cup success in 2019, with the iconic venue also previously playing host to 26 European Tour events since 1974.

The event will be one of three majors in Scotland that summer, with The 150th Open scheduled to be held at St Andrews a week earlier and the AIG Women’s Open that year taking place at Muirfield.

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Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director – Championships at The R&A, said: “This is another great ‘first’ in the history of The Senior Open and we could not be more thrilled to be staging the championship on The King’s Course at Gleneagles.

“With such a strong pedigree in hosting championships, The King’s is a fine test of golf and we know the players will relish the opportunity to play there.

“Adding another renowned venue to the roster is a clear indication of the continuing development of The Senior Open and I’m sure there will be a real sense of anticipation among the players and fans for our first visit to Gleneagles in two years’ time.”

Sunningdale Golf Club hosts the 2021 contest, a year on from the Championship being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 35th edition then taking place on the King’s Course at Gleneagles from July 21-24, 2022.

LISTEN: Sky Sports Golf podcast

Ross McGowan’s Italian Open success, Bryson DeChambeau’s added distance and golf’s accessibility issues all feature in the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast.

McGowan joins Mark Roe, Zane Scotland and host Josh Antmann to reflect on his one-shot victory in Italy and discuss how he celebrated ending an 11-year winless run on the European Tour.

The 38-year-old goes through the key shots from his final round at Chervo Golf Club and talks about some of the tougher times he has experienced in his career before his return to the winner’s circle.

The rest of the panel look back at Patrick Cantlay’s win at the Zozo Championship and throw plenty of praise in the direction on Bianca Pagdanganan, who impressed during the LPGA Drive On Championship.

Listen or subscribe on:

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The guests look at DeChambeau’s social media post of him hitting a 403-yard carry and try to work out how his added distance could benefit him at the Masters next month, with plenty of debate about what can be done to limit the increasing hitting distances within the sport.

Scotland opens up about his experiences of discrimination in golf and offers plenty of solutions and ideas on how to make the game accessible for everybody, while the guests also offer their predictions for this week’s Cyprus Open and Bermuda Championship.

Download and listen to the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast and don’t forget to subscribe via Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

The Vodcast version is out now on Sky Sports On Demand, with the show also on Sky Sports Golf this Wednesday from 7pm and 10pm.

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Alun Wyn Jones: Warren Gatland says age won’t harm lock’s British and Irish Lions captaincy chances

Warren Gatland insists age will have no impact on Alun Wyn Jones’ British and Irish Lions prospects as the race to lead next year’s tour to South Africa begins on Saturday.

Jones will become the sport’s capped player when he leads Wales in the final round of the Six Nations against Scotland, eclipsing Richie McCaw’s record of 148 Test appearances.

The 35-year-old lock is a frontrunner alongside Maro Itoje to skipper the Lions next year and Gatland insists Jones still has plenty to offer.

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“Age is no limit because the thing is when you look at a Lions squad you’re not thinking about the future,” said Gatland.

“You’re not thinking about four years’ time, you’re just thinking about the here and now. You’re not developing a team for a World Cup.”So it’s about picking the best players and if his form is good enough. One of the things about Alun Wyn is that he’s incredibly honest about his own performance.

“He manages himself more as he’s got older – he wasn’t the best at it when he was younger because he was fresh every day and didn’t know when he was sore or tired.

“He’s done a great job, he leads from the front, he’s incredibly honest.”

Almost a decade younger and operating in the same position, Itoje is hoping to advance an early claim when England clash with Italy in Rome on Saturday.

“When Maro first burst on to the scene he was into everything and he was probably overplaying and using up energy that he didn’t need to be, hitting rucks that were lost causes and those sorts of things,” said Gatland.

“He has matured as a player. He’s a very articulate young man, carries himself extremely well, he’s proud of his roots and his upbringing and what he has achieved.

“He’s one of many who could potentially be a candidate but the bottom line is stay injury free and make sure your form is good enough – that’s the message.

“I want to reiterate that in a position with so much strength in depth you want to make sure that person is hopefully a player who you are confident that their form is hopefully going to be good enough to get a starting position.”

Warburton, O’Connell back Itoje to captain Lions

Former captains Sam Warburton and Paul O’Connell have backed Maro Itoje to lead the British and Irish Lions in South Africa next summer.

Itoje was one of the standout performers during the Lions’ drawn series with New Zealand in 2017 and remains in a rich vein of form for both Saracens and England.

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“Every game I see him play, he’s up for man of the match,” said Warburton, who skippered the Lions during the 2013 and 2017 tours.

“I spent two months with him on tour three years ago. I remember looking at him in training and thinking, ‘that guy can be captain on the next tour’. He strikes me as a very good leader as well.”

O’Connell was captain when the Lions last toured South Africa in 2009, losing a memorable series 2-1, and he expects Warren Gatland to again opt for a forward as captain.

“It probably hints towards Itoje,” said O’Connell. “That’s where the Lions have gone in the last few tours and it has been successful.

The British & Irish Lions’ three-Test series against South Africa, plus five warm-up matches, will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports from July 3 to August 7 2021

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Sergio Parisse: Ex-Italy captain targets Six Nations swansong in 2021

Sergio Parisse hopes he will get the chance to make one final appearance for Italy during next year’s Six Nations.

The legendary No 8 had planned to retire from international rugby after last year’s Rugby World Cup but was denied a farewell appearance when Italy’s final pool match against New Zealand was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The coronavirus pandemic then prevented Parisse from making an Azzurri swansong against England in Rome last March.

The 37-year-old will be cheering on his former team-mates when they face Eddie Jones’ side in Saturday’s rearranged Six Nations finale, and he has not given up hope of lining out for his country in next year’s tournament.

Will we see @sergioparisse in Blue one last time? 🇮🇹

The Italian legend joins @WillGreenwood and @RupertCoxTV on the podcast this week, and he's confident he will be able to make a swansong international appearance 🏉

Parisse, who has won 142 caps for Italy, told Will Greenwood’s Podcast: “The plans at the beginning of the year was to play the last game in Rome against England. It would have been a great way to finish my career in the blue jersey, in front of my family and friends.

“Everyone knows it was a difficult moment with the coronavirus; everything changed.

“At the moment I am just leaving this last game in the corner of my head. I really want to play one last game, of course, but at the same time, it is important for the Italian team to start their new process without me, for the young guys to take leadership and build a new group looking ahead to the next World Cup.

“I keep in touch with (Italy head coach) Franco Smith and it would be great to be involved in next year’s Six Nations but at the moment, with all of the things that have happened outside rugby, it is difficult to organise a last game.”

Parisse is back enjoying his rugby with Toulon, who he joined in 2019 after an unhappy end to his 15-year stint with Stade Francais, and he would consider a move into coaching when he eventually decides to hang up his boots.

“Why not? It’s a possibility,” he said. “I love this sport, I would be really glad to share my experience and maybe one day be a coach.

“I think it’s a process, I don’t want to rush. I want to be as humble as I am as a player.

“I’m really proud of my career and what I achieved as a player but being a good player doesn’t mean you’ll be a good coach.”

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Jack Willis: England coach Matt Proudfoot says Wasps flanker ready for Test rugby

England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot says breakdown specialist Jack Willis is ready to make his Test debut if selected against Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations finale.

Willis, the 23-year-old Wasps flanker, has emerged as one of the Premiership’s most influential players on the strength of his peerless jackling, which is accompanied by big hits in defence and a strong carry.

The current players’ player of the year is operating in a ferociously competitive area with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill among the more established options, but Proudfoot has seen enough during Wasps’ march to the Premiership final to know he will adapt immediately to Test rugby.

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“Jack is definitely ready. Jack has been really good for his club. His dynamic over the top of the ball has made a big impact,” Proudfoot said.

“His relentless physicality also stands out. He’s always putting himself in the contest, in attack and defence. From a loose forward’s perspective, that’s exactly what you want.

“You want guys who will bring intensity and physicality and whether he’s in attack or defence, he’s constantly put himself there and hasn’t stepped off.

“And that’s the type of effect we want from all the young players, to really grasp an opportunity to play for their clubs and put their hands up.

“The fact his club were in the final, played so well and took it to the edge had a lot to do with his mindset and how he played the game.”

England’s squad gathered for the first time in their entirety on Monday, leaving little time to prepare for the looming Stadio Olimpico showdown when the third Six Nations title of the Eddie Jones era is on the line.

“We’re building on from what we did in the Six Nations where there were some good foundations laid,” Proudfoot said.

“We’ve been in touch with the players on a regular basis during the club season so it’s really been a continuation on the Six Nations. And then it’s about the final coordination between the players.

“We’ve had two good sessions with the pack this week and we’re happy with where we are. Tomorrow we’ll be in game scenarios and get to test that.

“Our focus in this situation has been to go back to basics and really focus on the basics. That way if you need to adapt, you can adapt very quickly.”

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Ian Watson commits himself to Salford after rejecting Hull approach

Salford coach Ian Watson has confirmed his commitment to the Red Devils after rejecting an approach from Super League rivals Hull.

Speaking after watching his side snatch a 12-10 victory to condemn reigning Super League champions St Helens to their first league defeat since March, Watson confirmed he had spoken to the Black and Whites chairman Adam Pearson about his club’s coaching vacancy but says he will be honouring his contract with Salford.

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“Hull came forward and I can’t speak highly enough of them,” he said. “They’ve been really professional and did everything the right way.

“They contacted the club asking if they could have permission to speak to me and the club gave them permission.

“I spoke to Adam who talked about what was important to him and his family at Hull and the Hull club and making sure they were right going forward.

“My concern are my players at Salford and, with the timing and the circumstances and everything else that’s going on with Covid – my girls are in the final year of their A-levels and GCSEs – it’s probably not right for us at the moment.

“I’m flattered to be considered to be honest. As you go forward, you never know. I want to challenge myself and see how far I can go.

“I’d love to go and coach in the NRL one day but there’s a process to go through to get there and I’m still enjoying what I’m doing here.”

Watson, who in the last 12 months has guided the unfancied Red Devils to a maiden Grand Final and a first Challenge Cup final for 51 years, is contracted to the club until the end of 2022.

After losing to Leeds at Wembley and conceding 58 points to Wigan last Friday, Watson’s men returned to winning ways in dramatic fashion against an understrength St Helens at Headingley.

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Jamie Shaul to be offered new contract by Hull despite serious knee injury

Hull say they will honour their offer of a new contract to full-back Jamie Shaul after he was ruled out for a lengthy spell with a major knee injury.

The Black and Whites confirmed the 28-year-old, who has scored 100 tries in 176 games for his hometown club, ruptured his ACL during last week’s 48-6 Super League victory over Castleford and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks.

Shaul, who will miss the rest of the 2020 season and could be out for much of next year’s campaign, was out of contract at the end of the season but Hull had already made him a new offer.

Come back stronger, Shauly! 💪❤️

Hull interim head coach Andy Last said: “We are all really disappointed with the news, none more so than Jamie, but as a club we will ensure he gets the support and medical care he needs to help him through this period.

“I’m really pleased for him that the club have stood by their offer which will give him some peace of mind and security, which will enable him to focus fully on his recovery.”

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Alex Corbisiero: Former England and British & Irish Lions prop on battle against testicular cancer

The thought of watching his fiancé in action for the USA sevens team at the postponed Olympic Games next year is one of the things which is keeping Alex Corbisiero going as he continues his fight against testicular cancer.

The former England and British & Irish Lions prop was diagnosed in November last year and although he was initially given the all-clear earlier this year and had some precautionary chemotherapy in January, it was later discovered the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.

Corbisiero has since been undergoing a further round of chemotherapy and keeping in mind watching partner Abby Gustaitis lead the USA team in next year’s women’s Olympic seven tournament is helping him maintain a positive mindset.

The @TeamCorbs @TUF_tweets Just Giving page is LIVE! I’m so grateful for all the support, thank you to everyone who bought a shirt! It means a lot to me to be able to turn this negative into something positive! #NoEgosJustAmigos

“That is the dream,” Corbisiero told Sky Sports. “I think about that every day so to see it from that side, it would mean the most to Abby.

“But I think her family and me will be very close to that, cheering her on. That’s one of the things that give me strength looking forward to that when you go through some of the tougher moments of this journey.

“Abby has been fantastic and the sacrifice, for her to give up her training time and away from her dream with all the uncertainties of the Olympics and what’s happened with rugby on a global scale, especially sevens, to be here with me and have my back has been phenomenal.”

The pair have been training together at home as well as Gustaitis bids to maintain her fitness, with the global sevens series still yet to resume after being one of the many competitions across all sport to be put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m not letting cancer defeat me and I will be back, and thanks to everyone for their support and having my back.

Alex Corbisiero

Her support has proven invaluable for Corbisiero too, particularly during days undergoing chemotherapy where he has been on a drip for five hours at a time and having to deal with the side effects of the treatment.

The 32-year-old’s determination to maintain as positive a mindset as possible throughout has helped him through too, although he admits even then there are times when dark thoughts threaten to overwhelm him.

“There are times where you can be quite vulnerable, and I think it would be naive or dishonest to say it doesn’t happen,” Corbisiero said.

“I think emotions, time on your own – there are moments where I’ve been feeling quite poorly during this journey.

“There is the potential to go to the ‘victim mindset’ as I like to call it, but I’ve been trying to keep that ‘fighter mindset’.

“But it does creep in at moments and I think it’s human nature to let your mind try to defeat you at times.”

Recently, however, Corbisiero received news the cancer is shrinking and that the prognosis following his latest round of treatment looks promising.

The former London Irish and Northampton Saints player has taken on an ambassadorial role for the Urology Foundation as well in a bid to raise awareness of testicular cancer and urged anyone noticing anything unusual to get it checked by a doctor straight away.

England & Lions star Alex Corbisiero, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year, has produced his own charity #TeamCorbs t-shirts to help raise money for a future @TUF_tweets study into testicular cancer. To see more & order

“A lot of people wait for a lump or something – for me, I didn’t even have a lump,” Corbisiero said.

“My testicle went harder and heavier, so my advice is any difference, go get checked and go to the doctor despite things like covid.

“Things like cancer are very important and the later the diagnosis, the harder the journey to the cure.

“I’m not letting cancer defeat me and I will be back, and thanks to everyone for their support and having my back.”

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