And that is the bottom line, because... Dan Cole says so? Whereas England rugby fans might be used to seeing their veteran tighthead prop scrummaging and hitting rucks, on Thursday he left his team-mates in hysterics by delivering an uncanny impersonation of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, one of WWE’s most well-known wrestlers.
In a joint Instagram post with fellow England prop Joe Marler, Cole – who is bald like the ‘Rattlesnake’ wrestler – can be seen cannoning through a door in the middle of training, with Austin’s ‘I Won’t Do What You Tell Me’ entrance music playing in the background.
The tighthead, sporting a pair of black trunks with socks and trainers – like Austin – proceeds to emulate the Rattlesnake’s famous ring walk, with water bottles in place of beer cans. The 36-year-old treats a chair as a turnbuckle, climbs high, and showers himself with water, mirroring Austin’s iconic beer shower.
— Tight Five Rugby (@TightFive_Rugby) September 21, 2023
Head of strength and conditioning, Aled Walters, as well as a large group of the playing squad – Billy Vunipola, David Ribbans, Will Stuart, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam and Kyle Sinckler – were left in hysterics by Cole’s antics, which finished with a further nod to the Rattlesnake, who rose to prominence during the Attitude Era of the then WWF, with the tighthead prop offering an obstreperous kick to the door on his departure.
The reason for the impersonation remains unclear, but it might have come as a forfeit or fine. The presence of Walters in such a moment of levity is poignant, too. The Welshman has previously explained how his joviality means that he is the perfect foil to the more serious Steve Borthwick. Walters himself recalls Borthwick saying: “I’m glad you smile because I don’t.”
Either way, Cole certainly “opened a can of whoop-a--” on his team-mates, some of whom were left on the floor laughing, with the challenge of Chile to come on Saturday.