Autumn internationals: New scrum laws will suit Pumas more than anyone, claims Dan Cole

England prop ready for a mighty battle against Argentina as Corbisiero set to replace Vunipola

The rugby union lexicon is full of blood-curdling adjectives relating to life in the front row, "cruel" and "horrible" being among the milder ones. The England tight-head prop Dan Cole came up with a new and surprising offering as he girded his loins for this weekend's brutally hard set-piece contest with Argentina at Twickenham. "How do they go about their scrummaging? In a gentlemanly way," he said.

Come again? If you listened carefully, you could hear dozens of heavily bristled lantern jaws hitting the floor as tight forwards the world over were left wondering what the hell Cole was on about. Those long-standing members of the front-row union who had the misfortune to tangle with Diego Cash, Patricio Noriega, Roberto Grau, Mauricio Reggiardo, Omar Hasan or Rodrigo Roncero might have been charmed by their opponents' chivalrous behaviour during after-match drinks, but during the match itself? Please.

"What I mean by this," said the Test Lion from Leicester, by way of explanation, "is that they scrummage with a certain pride, a certain sense of honour. They don't like cheating. To the Pumas, the scrum is a pushing contest where the unit going back loses. The Italians have taken it on board to some extent, and it's always been there in French rugby. But for the Argentines, it's such a major point in their game – and they're good at it. Very good. Take a look at the footage from the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and see them shoving the All Blacks around."

Cole was a part of England's starting front-row combination that laid the most solid of foundations for the victory over Australia four days ago, and like his colleagues and fellow Lions, the loose-head prop Mako Vunipola and the hooker Tom Youngs, he was well pleased with that aspect of the performance. But while Argentina may not pose a Wallaby-like threat in the back line – they have nothing resembling a Quade Cooper or an Israel Folau, especially as Juan Martin Hernandez, the "Maradona of rugby", is off-limits through injury – they will be approximately 100 per cent better at close quarters.

"Things are harder under the new protocols," Cole continued, referring to the recent changes to the set-piece process that forces props to bind on each other before engagement and then use their strength and technique to establish superiority once the ball is fed and the scrum is called active. "You're in there longer; there's more going on. The way the scrum is now, it probably suits the Argentines more than anyone else. They were never particularly massive on the old 'long-range hit' engagement: it's always been about what goes on after the engagement with them. To the Pumas, scrummaging is a matter of will."

Graham Rowntree, the former England prop who now coaches the red-rose forwards, believes the Pumas will look to "scrum long" at Twickenham. "The stats tell us that on average, their scrum lasts eight and a half seconds – a good two seconds longer than most others," he said. "We scrum long ourselves sometimes: we do it to tire opponents out, to hold the back-rowers in, to free up space later in the game. It's a big statement for a pack to make, so we'll have to match the Argentines there. If they want that battle, it's up to us to accept the challenge."

One front-rower who will not be meeting any sort of challenge this weekend, apart from the frustrating one of kicking his heels, is the aforementioned Vunipola. The Saracens prop picked up a knee ligament injury against Australia and has been ruled out of contention for the Argentina game.

He would probably have been relegated to the bench anyway: Alex Corbisiero, very much England's senior loose-head operator, is fit again after knee trouble of his own, trained the house down and is considered the hot favourite for a starting place, always assuming he shows no reaction of the orthopaedic kind. He was one of 27 players retained by the head coach, Stuart Lancaster, last night – an extended squad, reflecting the absence of Premiership rugby this weekend.

The heaviest loser was the Bath lock Dave Attwood, who travelled home after giving way to Geoff Parling, the Leicester second-rower. Parling missed the Wallaby Test after suffering mild concussion in training. Lancaster has hung on to the uncapped Northampton centre Luther Burrell, the Wasps wing Christian Wade, the Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care and the Bath hooker Rob Webber.

Argentina have named a side featuring half a dozen English-based players: the Bath wing Horacio Agulla and his clubmate, the hooker Eusebio Guinazu; the Saracens centre Marcelo Bosch; the Worcester lock Mariano Galarza; and two Leicester forwards – the prop Marcos Ayerza and the flanker Pablo Matera.

Wales opt for Walker to fill Cuthbert gap

Eli Walker, the Ospreys winger, will make his Wales debut against South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday after coach Warren Gatland picked the 21-year-old to replace injured British & Irish Lion Alex Cuthbert.

Rhys Priestland has been recalled at fly-half, having missed much of last season through injury. He comes in for Dan Biggar. Flanker Dan Lydiate also makes a return for the first time in more than a year.

The referee on Saturday will be Irishman Alain Rolland, who controversially sent off Sam Warburton during the 2011 World Cup semi-final against France in Auckland. "I don't think it will have any bearing on how I work with the referee," Warburton said.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London