England's full-on forwards session against their Wales counterparts has set them up perfectly for Saturday’s opening autumn clash against Argentina at Twickenham, according to scrum coach Neal Hatley.
In an unprecedented move for the two nations, international rivals England and Wales participated in a 40-minute showdown in Bristol on Monday, which consisted of 12 scrums and 18 line-outs, under the watchful eye of referee Nigel Owens.
“It was good, very worthwhile. It was good to get live competition early in the week and we gained a lot from it,” said Hatley. “We want to make training as competitive as possible so the unfamiliarity of it made this session different.
“There was a little bit of an edge, but there was nothing serious. Both sides took a lot from it. Without sounding too calculating, it was a training aid to help us prepare for Argentina so there was good edge to it.
“We got what we wanted to get out of it, putting into practice things that we’d been looking at during our training camp in Portugal last week. It sets us up nicely to play Argentina, who are a good set-piece team, so in that respect it was handy.”
Prop Dan Cole echoed the sentiments of Hatley following his workout against the Welsh front row and believes the exercise will prove vital in England’s bid to counteract Argentina’s powerful pack.
“The session will help massively. We’ll review it, in depth, and look at where we need to get better,” said Cole. “When Argentina came to Twickenham last year it was a serious scrummaging affair, so they will no doubt look to take us on.”