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Cornerstone Dan is still The Man

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Dan Cole is big enough to stick up for himself, but it does no harm for us to fight his corner sometimes too.

It seems Cole has his doubters and detractors in sections of the media where he is not exactly lavished with praise. It seems any young tighthead prop is championed to take his place. Several have come. And gone.
None, though, has managed to take the shirt off him so any length of time so far.
Cole has played more than 150 games for Tigers, leaping over the considerable claims of Julian White and Martin Castrogiovanni to establish himself as first choice and staying ahead of the talents of Logo Mulipola to keep the No3 shirt. He has more than 60 caps for England and has barely missed a game since making his debut after just a handful of starting appearances for Tigers. Cole has been part of a victorious British & Irish Lions squad in Australia and has now played in England’s first-ever series win there.
It is a remarkable record and one that may have finally earned some praise away from Welford Road.
No less than Stuart Barnes, often the pantomime villain for Tigers fans, has been singing Dan’s praises after England clinched series victory in Australia.
The front row, he wrote, was the “only place to begin” when looking for reasons behind England’s return to prominence. Further, he said Cole and Mako Vunipola “destroyed” the Aussie scrum, pointing out that they cost the Wallabies’ first-choice props their places and sent their replacements packing, while the Tigers prop “quietly went about his demolition job”.
All this against the background of a media campaign led by World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer who said Cole had flaunted the rules in his scrummaging technique in the opening Test. Referee Romain Poite did not agree in the first Test and Craig Joubert did not find anything to whistle about in the second – both pinged the Wallabies though. Barnes was adamant that Cole stayed straight and square while it was an Aussie backside that jutted out of the front row at all angles.
Critics argue that Cole is not a huge ball-carrier, but there are other players to do that role, and his work at the breakdown is akin to  England having an extra back-rower – and at 19 stones he takes some shifting once he's over the ball.

You are unlikely to see Dan thrust himself into the spotlight or crave coverage in social media. A tighthead does most of his work away from direct glare, and it’s just the way he likes it.
We should not allow a low profile, though, to diminish the achievements of England’s cornerstone. The adulation is the last thing he would expect but the very least he deserves. Top man Dan.