Steve Thompson: Certain people were out to get England

The England hooker's exclusive column
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The Independent Online

I really don’t know what Johnno will make of the reaction to the campaign but I really hope he wants to carry on. He’s built a good squad over the last few years. On the whole I think he has got England to a good place and I am confident that there is more to come, especially from the younger players who will have learnt so much from the World Cup.

It’s a week since our Rugby World Cup exit but I am still gutted that we missed a major opportunity to do something special.

Watching the semi-finals is tough when you are trying to get back to normality. The emotion is still pretty raw and I am still gutted because we should have beaten France. When I returned from injury my goal was to get to the World Cup and having done that is was so disappointing that we failed to take our chance and deliver.

But it’s a case of getting on with things. I’m starting at a new club and I can’t spend too much time looking back and saying we should have done this or that because that would start to impact on things with Wasps so I’ve just tried to forget about it and have been out on the bike getting away from it all.

It felt like from the day we turned up in New Zealand certain people were intent on tearing us to shreds. Obviously some things have happened off the field but it was interesting to see Wales coach Warren Gatland say that his side are not whiter than white the other day.

We haven’t performed as well as we should have and some players got things wrong and they got reprimanded for that. They have apologised and we moved on but sometimes these issues get dragged out in public rather than people focusing on the rugby. But we’re not looking for excuses, we came up short.

Some of the combinations may not have worked as planned but I still think we played some good rugby even in the defeat to France. We threw the ball around and produced some of our best rugby only for a few dropped balls and a couple of missed tackles to cost us. The fact that France have now made the final just adds to the frustration but fair play to them, they got the result they needed against us and Wales.

Looking ahead, there is no way I am going to retire from international rugby. People may be saying I’m too old but if I am playing well for Wasps then I want to be playing for England. I want to wear the England jersey again but we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what is going on coaching wise and there is all this talk about various inquiries, but the hunger is still there and I am convinced this squad can still do something special.

Steve Thompson writes exclusively for, one of the world’s leading Rugby websites. To read the column in full, visit