England's Cole wary of 'dangerous' Argentina ahead of World Cup opener

FILE - Argentina's Los Pumas listen to head coach Michael Cheika durng a training session. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP

FILE - Argentina's Los Pumas listen to head coach Michael Cheika durng a training session. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP

Published Sep 6, 2023


Dan Cole said Wednesday that Argentina's scrum could still cause England problems in their Rugby World Cup opener even if the Pumas' pack is not the force of old.

Victory for either Pool D side in Marseille on Saturday would see them take a giant stride towards the quarter-finals.

Argentina have long been renowned for the quality of their scrum, although the Pumas now have threats in their backs too as they proved during a 30-29 win over England at Twickenham when wing Emiliano Boffelli and fly-half Santiago Carreras both scored tries.

While the current front row may lack something in comparison to that of 2015, when renowned props Marcos Ayerza and Ramiro Herrera helped power the Pumas to a World Cup semi-final, Cole remains respectful of a line-up that includes his Leicester team-mate Julian Montoya at hooker.

"It's a force," said the veteran England tighthead prop.

"Whether it's the force of your (Martin) Scelzos, (Rodrigo) Ronceros and (Mario) Ledesmas...But you still have Montoya, who I know brilliantly well.

"You look at their team in the Rugby Championship, they're dangerous. If you have one scrummage where you are not fully focused they will do you damage and get stuck into you."

The 36-year-old added: "Marcos Ayerza could talk for days about the scrum, both the physical and mental aspect of it.

"That's the tradition of their game, we respect that and we look forward to playing them because that's the game."

Cole is still revelling in his return to Test duty after being recalled by coach Steve Borthwick, for the first time since England's scrum was overwhelmed by South Africa in the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, during this year's Six Nations.

"I didn't think this would happen but now I'm here and I'm very happy and grateful to be part of it," said Cole, who is set to feature at his fourth World Cup.

"It was a surprise to get the call from Steve because I hadn't played for England for three years. I'd worked with him at Leicester but he didn't give anything away."

Former England captain Borthwick, who has overseen six defeats in nine games since succeeding the sacked Eddie Jones, is due to name his team to play Argentina on Thursday.