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'Complete blame': Thompson opens up on World Cup final loss that still haunts

By Kim Ekin
Lydia Thompson of England leaves the field after receiving a red card during the Rugby World Cup 2021 Final match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park on November 12, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

England winger Lydia Thompson has opened up about the distressing World Cup final loss to New Zealand that has haunted her since last November.


The 31-year-old was red carded early in the first half after her tackle on Black Ferns star Portia Woodman went wrong, with both players involved in a head clash that forced Woodman off the field.

Under strict rules for head-to-head contact a red card was issued, forcing England to play 63 minutes with 14 players in the final.

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Thompson revealed she has been living in ‘complete blame’ for the loss as ‘hurtful’ thoughts keep resurfacing over the incident and the match.

“Those multiple thoughts keep flooding you like: letting the team down, obviously it made their day a lot harder. A complete blame for the loss of the World Cup,” Thompson told ITV.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to talk about it. But that’s why I thought it is time to talk about it because I just want to say thank you to people. The overwhelming kindness people showed me…I guess you don’t expect it because you feel so terrible.

“No one had said anything I can imagine to be as hurtful as what my own thoughts were saying to me. I’ve been my own worst enemy I guess.


“I’m still on the journey of kind of coming to terms of it. But bottling up isn’t the best thing.

“As much as I kind of thought I’d be strong enough to just move past it. I haven’t been. I’ve had so much help. And yeah, I want to know that I’m there for anyone else.”

The Red Roses almost pulled off a heroic victory but the Black Ferns were able to prevent the rolling maul by disrupting the lineout on the last play of the game to hold on for a 34-31 victory.

She revealed the torment from the incident almost drove Thompson to quit the game in an emotional letter she penned for Scrum Queens.


On her return to play in Worcester she was left shaking with nerves after months away from any rugby environment.

The 58-Test wing has been named in England’s 2023 Six Nations squad as the Red Roses look to put the World Cup behind them as they start to build towards the event in 2025.



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