But at club level, it is Italy star Castrogiovanni who starts in the biggest matches at Welford Road.
And while Cole admits the Argentine-born Italian is number one right now, he is adamant the competition is good for both of them.
"There is a pecking order in my eyes and I am not at number one," Cole said.
"To get there means being better than Castro. At Leicester your main job is to scrummage.
"Number one is the scrum, number two is the lineout lift. That is the mentality so in that regard we are similar.
"He is probably a better ball carrier than me around the field and has more involvement around the field.
"You can always do more as a player but that is something to work on.
"You don't want it handed to you on a plate. You can't just be complacent. If you are number one or not being pushed you might fall away.
"We are pushing each other which is raising the level for the club and at international level. No-one wants to give an inch.
"It works alright here with England. I have been picked for the last 12 games."