- Dan Cole preparing for another challenge with all-Natal Sharks front row
- Heyneke Meyer wanted physical, bulling pack at Leicester – Cole
Dan Cole is relishing another chance to challenge South Africa’s all-Natal Sharks front row after England suffered a brutal defeat on their last meeting with the Springboks.
England lost 21-11 at Twickenham in November 2010, their seventh straight defeat to South Africa, but it was the manner of the loss which lingers in the memory – with Stuart Lancaster saying ‘England got beaten up’.
Tighthead Cole is set to face imposing Durban based trio Tendai ‘the Beast’ Mtawarira, Bismark du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis once again in the first Test at Kings Park and the Leicester Tigers man is looking forward to knocking back a couple of their talismanic figures.
The 25-year-old said: “I’ve looked at a lot of tapes and played against them before at Twickenham in the autumn internationals a couple of years ago and I’m looking forward to the challenge again.
“They’re a big physical front row who can scrummage but also can get round the field. There’s a couple of talisman in there who carry and get the crowd behind them, in the ‘Beast’ and Bismark du Plessis , and playing together every week will help them as they’ll know each other inside out.
“Their pack is physical and direct but they do have some footballers outside in the backline and have some great finishers in the back three. If you give them a chance, they’ll take it, as Bryan Habana has proven on many occasions.
“That’s one of the things which makes the Springboks as good as they are – they have the power but also the subtle touches to their game.”
Meyer wanted physical, bullying pack at Leicester – Cole
Photo: Getty Images
But for Cole attention soon diverts from the game’s subtle side and to the type of rugby former Leicester Tigers and new South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer may adopt on Saturday.
Meyer, who was at Leicester during the 2008-09 season, just as Cole was establishing himself in the first team squad, has selected 13 players from the Blue Bulls franchise, a team known for a tight, physical, kick-dominated, territorial brand of rugby.
This, allied to Cole experiences under Meyer at Welford Road, leads the 28-cap man to believe England will face a direct onslaught from the Springboks.
The No.3 added: “If you look at any of the South African franchises in the Super 15 they do play a direct game and that’s what you expect.
“I know Heyneke from his time at Leicester wanted to bring that physical edge, that bulling edge, to the Leicester pack and what we did around the field, with the directness.
“Without being overconfident, that’s how you expect them to play but we’re prepared on all fronts.”