England “haven’t got the mentality” to win the World Cup, says 2003 winner

Former England hooker and Rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson is an opinionated ex-pro and he hasn’t held back his honest opinions in his latest interview.

“I do worry about it a little bit,” Steve Thompson said to The Rugby Pod. “They should have taken Richard Wigglesworth, someone, that can control Owen Farrell when the pressure comes on.

“Ben Youngs is a tremendous player when he is going forward and things are going well, but when you need to think about the game he is all over the place. You saw that especially against Scotland (in March), he fell apart. You need someone that can go on there and control the game, control Farrell as well and take the pressure off the forwards.”

Despite the criticism, Thompson expects England to beat the USA on Thursday but thinks that their following run of games will be too tough.

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“I’m expecting England to put another 40 points on, but it’s just when the pressure comes on,” he said. “If England want to win the World Cup they have got five knockout games. They have got Argentina, France, quarter-final, semi-final, final and I don’t think they have got the mentality in the squad at the moment to be able to back that up five weeks in a row.” 

England will hope to prove Thompson wrong and put on an impressive display in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

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