Dan Cole: England and Leicester Tigers prop fit to face Sale

Dan Cole
Cole won three caps for the British and Irish Lions on the 2013 tour to Australia

Leicester Tigers and England prop Dan Cole will make his return from a long-term neck injury in the LV= Cup against Sale Sharks at Welford Road on Sunday.

The 27-year-old has been out since January and had surgery in the summer.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester: "He will have some game time. He will play off the bench."

Cole could now feature in England's autumn internationals, which start against New Zealand on Saturday.

England ready for New Zealand Test - Lancaster

But he is more likely to be in contention to start against Saracens and then London Welsh and Wasps when Tigers resume their Premiership season on 16 November.

England follow their autumn Test opener against New Zealand at Twickenham with games against South Africa, Samoa and Australia on successive Saturdays in November.

Cockerill confirmed Cole's return after more than nine months on the sidelines after seeing his Tigers side beaten 59-26 in a thrilling 13-try encounter against the Barbariansexternal-link at Welford Road.

"It was a great occasion. The quality of their team in the second half blew us away and I was there applauding how good they were," Cockerill said.

"It was great to get back in the game and make a game of it after being exploited in the first 15 minutes. We had a crack but their physicality and quality shone through."