England v Australia, November 17
Cole confident of winning scrum battle
November 14, 2012
England's Dan Cole celebrates making a mess of the Ireland scrum during this year's Six Nations © Getty Images
England prop Dan Cole has sounded an ominous warning to a bullish Australia side confident of winning the scrum battle in their clash at Twickenham on Saturday by declaring: "Bring it on".
Australia were swept aside by France in Paris on Saturday with the hosts' dominant pack laying the foundation for a comprehensive 33-6 victory. Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau refused to dwell on his side's disappointing showing and immediately set his sights on their next tour outing, insisting they would re-group and 'dominate' the England pack.
But Cole is far from rattled and has welcomed the chance to inflict more pain on the Wallabies' scrum having been part of the England forward unit that wreaked havoc on their 2010 tour of Australia. "In any Test match you want that forward dominance and that set-piece dominance, especially at scrum time.
"Australia are obviously reeling from being beaten by France last week and they'll come here firing. They've already mentioned that they want to dominate us - so bring it on. We respect the opposition we're up against and we'll do whatever we have to do to deal with the Australians."
Cole has emerged as a key component of the England pack since making his Test debut in 2010 and has missed just one of the last 33 matches and he is likely to figure strongly again this weekend as England target a third successive Cook Cup victory.
"There's probably a small advantage in the fact that the Australians have to look at the scrum more this week and have to work harder on it than normal, so it detracts from other parts of their game," Cole said. "In a way what's happened before is almost a disadvantage to us because the Australians will come out firing in the set piece at Twickenham, especially early on.
"That would put doubt in our minds and the minds of the crowd so we have to be respectful of that and not go into the game thinking 'we're going to smash these' because at the first scrum we'll come a cropper and the wind will be knocked out of us."
England will name their side on Thursday morning with the front row of Cole, Youngs and Joe Marler set to retain their places in the wake of the crushing 54-12 victory over Fiji last Saturday. Joe Launchbury has been linked with a promotion from the replacements to the second row while flanker Tom Wood may also be in line for a start. The team will certainly contain one change, with Chris Ashton back from suspension to replace Ugo Monye on the wing.
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