Thompson expects a brutal battle

2005 Lions hooker Steve Thompson anticipates a "brutal" World Cup quarter-final when England take on France tomorrow. [more]

Thompson expects a brutal battle

2005 Lions hooker Steve Thompson anticipates a "brutal" World Cup quarter-final when England take on France tomorrow.

Both England and France have been unimpressive so far 'Down Under' but clash for the fourth time in World Cup knockout history with a place in the last four up for grabs.

The Anglo-Franco rivals have met three times during the final stages at the showpiece tournament with England triumphant on every occasion.

Thompson was part of the side that claimed a 24-7 victory over France at the semi-finals in 2003 on the road to global supremacy. And the bulldozing hooker, who made six appearances for the Lions six years ago in New Zealand, expects another full-blooded encounter.

"The good thing is you know it's going to be a good, physical contest, especially in the scrum, no one takes a backward step," said Thompson.

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"I don't expect anything less, it's going to be pretty brutal. You can really go at them because you know they're going to come at you.

"It's just going to be really physical, isn't it? In the scrums, line-outs, mauls, they're going to be chucking themselves about and that's what we've got to do too.

"But what do you expect from a France-England match in the quarter-final of the World Cup?"

France scraped into the quarter-finals despite losing two games, a 37-17 loss to New Zealand and a shock 19-14 defeat at the hands of Tonga. But Thompson is taking nothing for granted.

"They've been a little bit up and down over the last few years and it's hard to play against them when they're like that," he added.

"They're unpredictable, and when they play England, they always bring a good game, so that's what we're looking forward to on Saturday."
 

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