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Cole shares the battle with England colleagues

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Tighthead prop Dan Cole says mental as well as physical freshness will be important when England run out for the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg this afternoon.

Cole makes his 30th international appearance as England look to bounce back from a 22-17 defeat in the opening contest last Saturday.

“We’ve done the analysis on last week’s game and what we have to improve on,” said Cole in the build-up to the second Test.

“It’s been a good week. We’ve got through the work but, at the end of the season, after however many games you’ve played, it’s about getting the mental side right as much as the physical side.”

The whole squad travelled to Kimberley on Wednesday to see the victory over South African Southern Barbarians, and Cole says it is important to show strength of support for colleagues.

“The spirit in the squad is very good and we’ve had excellent support from the England fans here,” said the Leicester Tigers front-rower.

“We went to Kimberley and it’s important we stick together as a team. Those guys came to the Test match on Saturday and we went to the midweek game because it is all about support for your mates. We share the battle with each other.”

That battle moves on to Johannesburg this afternoon (4pm BST) and England know what’s in store from their hosts who are led by former Leicester Tigers coach Heyneke Meyer.

“It’s always going to be a big battle up front when you get teams like England and South Africa together,” he said.

“South African rugby is very physical. You look at the Currie Cup or the Super 15, or you look at the Barbarians game we had on Wednesday. That’s how they like to play their rugby, they’re big men who run hard and try to wear you down. They’re very successful at it.

“It is a good contest and you have to take the game to them in the forwards.”