Rugby World Cup: England scrum still a work in progress – Cole

England's Jonny May is tackled by Fiji's Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Sakiusa Masi Matadigo

England's Jonny May is tackled by Fiji's Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Sakiusa Masi Matadigo

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Prop Dan Cole knows Wales and Australia will be scenting blood after confessing England switched off during the alarming scrum malfunction that led to Fiji’s try.

The hosts opened the World Cup with a 35-11 victory at Twickenham, delivering a stoppage-time bonus point after the arrival of second-half reinforcements rescued a team that was drifting.

Once again the scrum unravelled and the disturbing statistic of losing three on their own put-in against a front row that featured props from the French second division and Romanian club rugby will trouble forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

The low point arrived on the half-hour mark when England crumbled five metres from their own line, enabling Fiji to pounce by spiralling a kick into the corner for Nemani Nadolo to score.

Cole, who insists he would rather have Leicester team-mate Tom Youngs than Dylan Hartley playing at hooker, accepts the scrum must be rectified in time for the visit of Wales and Australia over the next two weekends.

“We’ve got to be better mentally because we switched off in an area in which we probably can’t afford to,” said the British and Irish Lions tighthead.

“On the next scrum we pretty much went straight through Fiji, so we put it right. It’s not a physical aspect, more of a mental one.

“We have to understand that five metres out is an area Fiji would go for us and Wales and Australia will now be licking their lips.

“We understand we’ve got to be better and realise that we can’t give opportunities like that to teams.

“Australia and Wales will look at that and believe they can get a result at our set piece and will go at us hard there.

“There will be work done. It’s still a work in progress.”

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