Cole happy to help out England newcomers

PA Sport
Dan Cole

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Dan Cole

England prop Dan Cole is ready to take on the burden of extra responsibility despite still feeling a novice in international terms.

The highly-regarded Leicester forward, who has established himself as England's first-choice tighthead over the past two years, will be at the forefront of the action in a squad which includes 13 uncapped players as the three-Test series in South Africa begins on Saturday.

Cole said: "You do feel slightly older when you look around and see a lot of younger guys. But in the front row positions, players like Dylan Hartley, myself and Lee Mears, we are the senior guys. You have got to take that on. I wouldn't say I was established or experienced, but there is more responsibility."

Cole's clash with the man known as 'The Beast', the Springboks loosehead Tendai Mtawarira, will be one of the most eagerly-anticipated aspects of the first Test in Durban.

South Africa, despite the loss of a number of forwards through retirement or injury, remain a formidable force up front and Cole has no doubt he is in for a tough workout.

Cole, who played under Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer during the South African's brief spell at Welford Road, said: "When you come over here that is what you expect.

"Heyneke has spoken to all his players before now and the South Africans will play to their strengths, which are physical.

"There is not a lot of deception in the game like in Australia or New Zealand, they will take it to you.

"Physicality is the strength of the South African game, no doubt about it.

"I am sure Heyneke will have some things up his sleeve, but from his time at Leicester we were fairly direct. That is what we expect."

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