Dan Cole hopes England will be able to immerse themselves in Japanese culture while launching a meaningful challenge for the World Cup.
Eddie Jones’ men open their quest to claim New Zealand’s title against Tonga on September 22 but by that point they will already have been in the host nation for a fortnight after opting to stage a training camp in Fukuoka.
Cole is a strong contender to be present as one of the traveling tighthead props when Jones names his final 31-man squad on Monday and if selected to go, he will value more than just rugby.
“The balance for us is that we are there to win games, but we are also probably going to be there once in our lifetimes so we want to enjoy the experience,” Cole said.
“We want to enjoy the culture, accept that and be part of it. Hopefully we’re not going to be quarantined and we can get out and see what’s going on because that’s part of the reason why we are there.
“It is not like we are there on a tourist trip. But if you look at Japan’s history from the Shogunates, then it is an interesting place.
“You hear about Tokyo and it being 24/7, flat out, but then you have your Buddhist zen gardens and quiet places.
“I think everybody is probably looking at it and going: ‘Oh Japan, I’d love to go visit Japan’. You’d put it on your bucket list but very few actually get to go there and do it.”
To aid their adjustment to a country that is an infrequent destination on the rugby circuit, England’s players have had culture lessons with the Japan Foundation.
“We’ve had one with the ins and outs of travelling on public transport, greetings and all that type of stuff so we’re getting there. (Fly-half) George Ford was good at bowing – he’s very respectful,” Cole said.
At 32-years-old and a veteran of England’s dreadful showings at the previous two World Cups, Cole would relish one more shot at the sport’s greatest prize.
“I would love to go. I’m not going to get another one, put it that way,” he said.
“You want to be successful with England. For the past four years Eddie has come in and the team has built.
“The goal every week is to win the games and win as many games as possible, but Eddie’s goal has also been the World Cup.
“Seeing how this team has evolved since 2015 you want to see it through and be part of that because it’s a very good squad.
“It’s one of the best squads I’ve been involved in, one of the best teams I’ve been involved in. You want to see that through.
“The squad’s being announced on Monday and no matter what part you play you want to go.
“If my part is to push the team as hard as I can and get them best prepared for Japan that’s my part. You want to do that because you want to see England win the World Cup.”
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