London — Steve Borthwick came to the defence of Dan Cole on Wednesday after Australia coach Michael Cheika accused the England prop of scrummaging illegally throughout his career.
England and Australia meet at Twickenham on Saturday, with rival coaches Eddie Jones and Cheika — once teammates at Sydney club Randwick — having traded a series of accusations about the scrum.
No sooner had England beaten Argentina 27-14 at Twickenham last weekend then Jones said the Wallabies had scrummaged illegally, adding he would meet referee Jaco Peyper to flag up his concerns.
Cheika responded by highlighting the play of Leicester tighthead prop Cole, whom he said had been "infringing the law since his career started, probably, if not all, of this year".
But England forwards coach Borthwick insisted: "I’m very pleased we have got Dan Cole in our team. He’s an excellent player and a great person to have in this pack."
Former England captain Borthwick said: "I’m just pleased he’s part of this England pack and I know I enjoy working with him.
"All the players enjoy having him as part of this pack. We want to build a really strong pack and you need everyone in the group on the money."
The build-up to the latest Anglo-Australian clash, which follows England’s 3-0 series win Down Under in June, has seen plenty of comment directed way of Peyper.
Borthwick tried to strike a conciliatory note by saying of the South African official: "Jaco’s an excellent referee and he will referee the game as he sees it on Saturday, we have no doubts about that."
England’s scrummaging session on Tuesday was overseen by leading Test referee Wayne Barnes, who as an Englishman does not officiate in international matches involving his own country.
"We always have a referee in training. For the last couple of weeks it’s been JP Doyle and when we went to Portugal [for a training camp], Greg Garner came out," Borthwick said.
"Every Tuesday and Thursday we have a referee in our sessions and there will be a referee there on Thursday as well. We’re grateful for that support from the referees."
Nathan Hughes is set to start in place of injured England back-rower Billy Vunipola, with Marland Yarde in line to take over from Elliot Daly following his fellow wing’s red card against Argentina.