Aviva Premiership Rugby will have a bumper edition of games on NBC in America this Thanksgiving Day weekend, and Alex Corbisiero cannot wait for what the weekend will bring.
The British & Irish Lion is fronting up NBC’s coverage across the pond as the sport continues to grow, and this week marks a new milestone.
— Alex Corbisiero (@AlexCorbs) November 17, 2016
For the first time all three matches will be shown on the NBC sports channel, with Friday’s clash between Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons going out live at 2.45pm on the east coast.
And Corbisiero, born in New York with family still in the States, is confident that rugby is flourishing in the new market place with all three games now available to view on TV.
“It’s really exciting and shows that we are starting to get a really good presence going in America,” he said.
“And with the Friday game being live, that gives the fans a great chance to get involved on social media as well.
“This is massive for us and shows we are starting to put rugby on the map. And with thanksgiving as well this week, what could be better than spending time with the family, watching some rugby with a full belly?
“There will be all the NFL on Thursday, so Friday will be all about the rugby which is fantastic.”
Matches on NBC this weekend
- Friday 25 Nov – Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons – 2.45pm ET – Live
- Sat 26 Nov – Exeter Chefs v Worcester Warriors – 12.30pm ET (as Live)
- Sun 27 Nov – Harlequins v Bath Rugby – 2.30pm ET (as Live)
Corbisiero’s former club Northampton kick off the coverage against Newcastle at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday, and the England prop is hoping his former club Saints can find their groove.
“Saints have been a team underperforming but if you look at their last few games, they have been coming away with wins,” he said.
“They have not played anywhere near their best and will be missing some internationals but they have a good group of young guys.
“By contrast Newcastle have probably over performed so far this season – there is a great balance to their game and they have some real attacking threats out wide, so it will be a very tough game under the Friday night lights.”
On Saturday, Exeter Chiefs welcome Worcester Warriors to Sandy Park.
The Chiefs, runners-up last year to Saracens, climbed to fifth last weekend after an indifferent start to the campaign and Corbisiero is confident they have turned the corner.
“Exeter played some really good stuff against Newcastle last week but will be disappointed with how they have started the season,” he added.
“But to still be in fifth is great for them and means they have a platform to push for the play-offs.
“They will keep playing their brand of rugby and when they get on a roll they can be hard to stop. I liked the look of Ollie Devoto last week, he scored a great try and I am sure he will be a threat again.
“Worcester have got a good find in Jamie Shillcock at fly-half; he has been a revelation and they did a lot right against Saints last time out – despite their form and league position they are a very good side.”
And on Sunday it is the turn of Harlequins to welcome Bath Rugby to the Twickenham Stoop.
“Bath definitely look like top four contenders and if they can keep their set-piece going well they will be in a great position,” said Corbisiero.
“But Quins are very strong at home, and even though they will be missing internationals, Nick Evans at 10 is huge for them and Bath will be missing George Ford.
“Quins have struggled to find the right balance in their game in recent seasons but they look like they are getting that right now, and when they are in their rhythm at the Stoop they are a great side – it will be tough for Bath to stop them.”