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14th Jun 2017

Kiwi press mercilessly target English player after Lions defeat

Seems a little harsh

Patrick McCarry

He hardly covered himself in glory but he is still likely to make the Test squad.

Dan Cole is set to deputise for Tadhg Furlong against New Zealand in the Test Series and should make the bench for this Saturday’s game against the Maori All Blacks.

Kyle Sinckler must be pushing him close for that role but his role in the botched lineout against Auckland Blues and he conceded a needless penalty in the 23-22 loss to Highlanders.

The Harlequins’ prop had a decent time of it in the scrum and in the loose, with one memorable break in the first half, and got a relatively easy going of it from the Kiwi press. The same cannot be said for Cole.

The 30-year-old Leicester Tigers tight-head had a tough time of it at the scrum in both of his substitute outings against Crusaders and Highlanders. In Dunedin, he was part of a scrum that was gobbled up by the hosts, with Cole twice pinged for penalties [the first, for collapsing, is below].


It was not a game that Cole will look back on fondly but the local media are not going to let him forget it any time soon.

Stuff rated the English prop a meagre 4/10. ‘Pinged seemingly incorrectly for dropping bind,’ wrote Aaron Goile, ‘but then part of a front-row which was monstered’.

Over in the New Zealand Herald, it got worse. Columnist Gregor Paul gave Cole short shrift.

‘England’s Dan Cole came on for the final quarter to stiffen the scrum. But the much vaunted Englishman, who is rated as one of the best scrummaging tightheads in European rugby, had his head stuffed between his legs by a Highlanders frontrow who most people outside of Dunedin would be honest enough to say they hadn’t really heard of before the game.’

Pretty emphatic, that.

They don’t spare your feelings down in New Zealand.

Warren Gatland announces his Lions squad for the Maori game at 8pm on Wednesday and Cole will be eager for a shot at redemption. Another tough night, though, and Sinckler could leapfrog him for the Test squad.