Many expected Johnson to turn to Wilson, primarily a tighthead, to fill the berth in the No.1 shirt but instead he turned to London Irish youngster Corbisiero.
England will now field their most inexperienced ever front row with Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole having a combined 36 caps - a fifth of the total that the formidable Azzurri trio of Martin Castrogiovanni, Salvatore Perugini and Leonardo Ghiraldini boast.
But Johnson had no qualms about giving the nod to Corbisiero especially after the impressive performance of last week's debutant flanker Tom Wood against Wales.
He said: "We felt we found a Test quality player last week and hopefully we'll find one tomorrow.
"We have no qualms about putting Alex in. He can play rugby. He's played in the Premiership against some of the world's best props.
"A gut instinct tells you who's got it, and you make that judgment. Alex has done himself a world of good whenever he's been with us in training.
"We have no qualms putting him in there at loose head and starting. David covers loose-head from the bench but Alex has more experience there.
"We trust all the squad to play. I had the conversation with Alex as we walked off the field on Tuesday. He was saying 'thanks for having me in'
"I told him you are only an injury away from starting and you have got to be ready. He's strong, fit and he can play at this level.
"He's played against some of the best props in the world in the Premiership."