Leinster scrum coach says Dan Cole will rue facing ‘his bogey man’ Cian Healy

Returning from injury English prop doesn’t have condition of ‘unique specimen’

Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo sees Ireland's Cian Healy as the last man England tight-head Dan Cole will want to see on Sunday.

“His bogey man seems to be Cian Healy - he doesn’t like scrummaging against Cian and Cian’s had some pretty good days against him.

England coach Stuart Lancaster has dropped an under-cooked Cole in at the deep end of international rugby as his alternative David Wilson is struggling with injury.

The Leicester Tiger prop has long been lauded as a cornerstone of this English pack and team, although Caputo sees him operating somewhere below his best following his fast-forwarded return from injury.

"He's not very well conditioned. They brought him back in after a long lay-off for a neck operation and he was one or two games in, had another injury that forced him out for another two or three weeks and his first game back was a Six Nations match.

“So, he probably doesn’t have the condition that he would have if he was in form”.

Of course, Healy has also been on his way back from a serious hamstring injury and has had limited game time too.

“He’s a guy that you can put him in there, he’s not your typical loose-head,” he said.

“He’s all fast twitch and he’s very strong. The weights he lifts down in the gym shows you that he’s a unique specimen, so he’s an exception to the rule.”

The same argument can be made about England loose-head Joe Marler's unsuitability for Mike Ross after the damage the Harlequins captain did in the Champions Cup.

“It’s one of those things that happens, particularly with front-rowers, there are opponents that you do struggle against and everyone’s got one,” said Caputo.

“Marler is one of the most improved loose-heads around at the moment.

“If you look at how he was scrummaging a year ago compared to how he’s performing now, he’s come on leaps and bounds and is by a mile the standout number one in England.

“He’s been part of the Harlequins scrum which is really good and he’s been the chief destroyer in that scrum.”

Nonetheless, Caputo readily admits Ross is “in a better place” now compared to before Christmas.

“Mike will do his analysis and have a good look at where he went wrong against him in the Harlequins matches.

“He’s a clever enough bloke to work out the things he needs to put right to put in a good performance.”