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Steve Borthwick defends England prop Dan Cole after scrummaging criticism

Published 30/11/2016

England prop Dan Cole has been accused of scrummaging illegally by Australia
England prop Dan Cole has been accused of scrummaging illegally by Australia

Steve Borthwick has mounted a strong defence of England prop Dan Cole amid accusations from Australia that he has been scrummaging illegally for his entire career.

The rivals meet in Saturday's climax to the autumn series at Twickenham with the set-piece forming the battleground for an exchange of verbal blows between Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika, the head coaches.

Jones lit the fuse immediately after Argentina had been defeated 27-14 by claiming the Wallabies scrummage illegally, adding that he would seek a meeting with referee Jaco Peyper to highlight his concerns.

Cheika retaliated by singling out Cole for criticism, insisting the Leicester tighthead has been "infringing the law since his career started probably, if not all of this year", and Borthwick has delivered an emphatic response.

"I'm very pleased we have got Dan Cole in our team. He's an excellent player and a great person to have in this pack," forwards coach Borthwick said.

"I'm just pleased he's part of this England pack and I know I enjoy working with him.

"All the players enjoy having him as part of this pack. We want to build a really strong pack and you need everyone in the group on the money.

"Jaco's an excellent referee and he will referee the game as he sees it on Saturday, we have no doubts about that."

England's live scrummaging session in training on Tuesday was overseen by referee Wayne Barnes.

"We always have a referee in training. For the last couple of weeks it's been JP Doyle and when we went to Portugal, Greg Garner came out," Borthwick said.

"Every Tuesday and Thursday we have a referee in our sessions and there will be a referee there on Thursday as well. We're grateful for that support from the referees."

England name their team to face Australia on Thursday morning with Nathan Hughes set to start in place of the injured Billy Vunipola and Marland Yarde favourite to come in for Elliot Daly on the right wing.

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