Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Hartley and Cole seek happier times

L-R: The England front row of Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Alex Corbisiero

Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole head to Paris in search of redemption as England prepare to lock horns with France in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations showdown.

Two years ago, Hartley and Cole were hauled off at half-time as England's pack were sent backwards by a French scrummaging onslaught, led by Perpignan tighthead Nicolas Mas.

"I can still picture it, I can still see those scrums," Hartley said. "A little bit of redemption would be nice this time. There are some demons to exorcise. It is inexcusable for an English pack to be pushed back on our own ball."

England were beaten 12-10 as France won the Grand Slam. They were also beaten the last time the two sides played, in the World Cup quarter-final.

Hartley added: "I remember being sat in the changing room in Paris after that game thinking: 'Wow, you just don't get taken off at half-time'."

Cole was in the foothills of his England career that night, making only his fifth Test start and it was a rude awakening for the Leicester tighthead.

"That must be the toughest rugby experience I've had," Cole said.

"I'm more pumped up for this game because of what happened there last time. Motivation-wise it's a good thing.

"It's going to be hostile in Paris, without doubt. There's 22 of us against the whole stadium.

"It feels like us against the world. In a funny sort of way, you enjoy that."

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