Steve Thompson: Scotland game will provide a sterner test

The England hooker's exclusive column
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The performance against Romania was a big step in the right direction but we know that we will have to raise our game again when we take on Scotland this weekend.

We had to go out there and we had to perform against Romania. We got the tries when we needed to and looked a lot sharper than we have done previously and everyone has got a bit of a spring in their step as a result - but we know we are still a long way from our best.

We had a good training week and I think it showed on the pitch where the boys stepped up the intensity. We knew they were going to tackle for their lives in the first 20 minutes and it was a case of just weathering that storm, going through the phases and wearing them down.

It may have been raining in Dunedin but the stadium roof ensured perfect playing conditions. From that point it was all about us keeping the ball and building our confidence to the point where we play the kind of rugby we know we can.

It was great to get my hands on the on the ball and the lineouts went well again and I think I am getting better and better with each game - and the same goes for the whole team. At a World Cup there is no point playing your best game in the first match of the tournament, you have got to work towards your best and that is what we are doing.

I was very happy to see Cuets get amongst the tries. He has had to sit out a lot of this World Cup and to return and score three tries as he did is great for him and the team. For 18 months he couldn’t score a try to save his life and on Saturday he was scoring them for fun! He reminds me a lot of Richard Hill because he does a lot of tireless work that no one gets to see and he is one of our unsung heroes.

It was great to see Lewis back to something near his best too but I couldn’t help but laugh when he got caught in the crown jewels by Mike Tindall’s knee. We saw him go down and at first you are worried but then we saw it was his nuts and you couldn’t help but laugh because he had it coming. He delights in dishing out a similar kind of pain just for laughs. So when he was tweeting last night that he was ‘sat in his room icing his crown jewels’ I was happy to reply to him to say it was ‘karma!’

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