Rugby World Cup 2015: Dan Cole previews England v Fiji

England prop Dan Cole says the set-piece will be key against Fiji

Dan Cole believes the set-piece battle is set to determine whether England or Fiji hit the ground running in the World Cup opener at Twickenham on Friday.

Following World Cup warm-up tussles with Ireland and France, head coach Stuart Lancaster has placed great emphasis on improving the Red Rose at the line-out and in the scrum.

So we are not taking them lightly. We’ve done our homework, we’ve seen their games and we’re prepared

Dan Cole

And Cole feels getting the better of Fiji’s powerful pack can see them launch the global tournament with a bang.

“We’ve done our work on the set-piece,” said the 28-year-old.

“We knew it wasn’t up to scratch, so us forwards have been working hard in the past two weeks to try and rectify those situations.

“Fiji will pose a slightly different threat to the Irish, but we’ve worked on our game to try and be the best we can become, regardless of the teams we are playing, because throughout the tournament we will have different set-pieces to come across and we need to be the best we can be.

“You look at the games Fiji have played, the Pacific Nations games and Canada, and in the set-piece they have been on top. They took the game to Samoa.

“So we are not taking them lightly. We’ve done our homework, we’ve seen their games and we’re prepared.

“It might not be the traditional set-piece game. We want to play a bit of rugby as well, but then hopefully it won’t dissolve into sevens. We’ll have to control possession and territory and play to our strengths.”

Though England have home advantage, they have certainly received no favours in the draw with games against Wales and Australia to follow Fiji.

But Cole believes the two that do eventually progress from Pool A will reap the benefits of a tough start.

“Whoever comes out the group stage will be battle hardened and ready for the quarter-finals, there will be no shocks there,” he added.

“You are playing three of the best teams in the world and it’s a challenge, it’s going to be tough, but that’s what you want the World Cup to be.”

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