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England star Dan Cole spent lockdown pretending to be a dinosaur – now he’s helping Tigers out of prehistoric slump

DAN COLE spent lockdown perfecting his dinosaur roar – now he’s trying to drag Leicester Tigers out of their prehistoric slump after burying his World Cup demons with England.

The England propzilla swapped shoving in the scrum to chasing his kids around the garden as a fierce, club-tailed ankylosaurus.

Now the Tigers stalwart is back to the day job – and looking to end the club’s Ice Age style trophy drought with ex-England coach Steve Borthwick now running the show.

Dino dad Cole said of his Jurassic Park-esque lockdown: “I spent most of my time on nice relaxing walks with my children, talking about cows and stuff.

“And the rest of the time I was being chased around my garden as a dinosaur, so that was fun. I’m an ankylosaurus – that’s my one.”

On the pitch Cole’s pussy-cat like Tigers are slumped in 11th-place and 15 points off the top four.

With the nine-game shoot-out starting on Friday night, they have it all to do if they are to salvage some pride from another pot-less campaign when they take on first-placed Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

And Cole knows that frustrations from another year in the doldrums, twinned with rugby’s brutal aggression – could turn the air blue for viewers with some x-rated language.

The 33-year-old said: “There is a balance – because when you are in the heat of the battle and you are totally focussed on playing rugby and communicating to your teammates in fairly sharp terms.

“You can’t be thinking about getting picked up on the ref mic. But at the same time, it is our responsibility to the people watching at home, as too the broadcasters, to limit the bad language.

“It will be interesting. Hopefully none of it will get through.

“But then, I am sure at some point it will, because tempers will flare and it is a passionate game.

“And it’s part of rugby in some regards.”

Though diplomatic Cole bit his lip when he was asked what it was like to win his 95th England cap at the World Cup final… only to lose in heart-breaking style to South Africa.

He came on as a sub after just two minutes for the inured Kyle Sinckler and endured a torrid time in the scrum.

Cole was then dropped by Eddie Jones for the Six Nations after the emergence of 24-year-old Bath tighthead Will Stewart.

And when asked how he looks back on the Japan final, he added: “I try not to.

“You think about it and you look back and take the learnings.

“Fortunately, in some regards as a player, two weeks later you are playing for Leicester and there are other things to focus on. You can’t dwell on it.

“You probably get one chance in your life to take an opportunity and you don’t take it – there are thoughts around that.

“As we’ve found out recently, there are bigger things in life and that is the way you have to look at it and you have to get on with it.

“You find a way and you move on. You think about it. There are some emotions around it, but you have to move on.

“That’s not to say that at the end of my career, you won’t look back and be more annoyed.

“Thankfully, at the minute, there is a lot more coming at us regarding the games we are playing now.

“So you are doing a disservice to your teammates if I am sat there dwelling on stuff that’s happened in the past.”

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