Norfolk reacts to England’s World Cup final defeat to South Africa
PUBLISHED: 13:58 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 02 November 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
Pubs across Norfolk were overflowing with rugby fans on Saturday as they witnessed England’s World Cup final loss.
England lost 32-12 to South Africa with second-half tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe sealing victory for the Springboks.
It might have been a bad result for England but the hundreds of people who watched the match at Holt Rugby Club said rugby was the winner.
About 200 people packed into the club where England scrum half Ben Youngs started his career aged just six.
And although there might have been some sad faces at the end, the turnout promoted the club marvellously.
Paul Knight, the club's under-14s coach, said: "It's a fantastic way to promote the sport. It was not a great result for England, but win, lose or draw rugby was always going to be the winner.
"We've got a fantastic club atmosphere here, a really family-friendly club, and we need to grow the game."
Club captain Henry Harrison said Ben Youngs was an inspiration to everyone at the club.
He added: "There's a great turnout here with all ages, which is great for the club."
Ken Swallow, 84, from Holt, was disappointed with the result, but pleased with the turn-out.
"It's really good for the club. There's a good atmosphere, but it was better last week when we won."
South African Corne Wheeler and son Euan, 11, understandably enjoyed the game the most.
He has been at the rugby club since 1998 and lives at Aylmerton.
He was so noisy in his support for the Springboks that some of the England fans good-naturedly dragged him out of the clubhouse at one point.
In Norwich, thousands of rugby fans packed out pubs across the city.
Bartenders at the Woolpack Inn on Golden Ball Street said they had seen hundreds of people through the door since it opened at 8am.
Fans nursing coffees, pints and fry ups filled every seat in the pub, leaping to their feet at every try.
Long-time rugby fan Ruby Spelman, 38, from Norwich, said despite the disappointing result, the World Cup had been a fantastic experience.
She said: "It's been a lot of fun and I don't think the loss detracts from that. The obvious highlight was the win against New Zealand. I think we tired ourselves out fighting that hard for the win, the boys seemed worn out today."
Her son, eight-year-old Tyler, added: "We didn't deserve a win but it would have been nice anyway."
The Globe Hotel in King's Lynn was in good spirits at kick-off, however it soon turned to disappointment.
Not everyone was in bad spirits however, with one South Africa fan, Shawna Anderson, loving every second of it jumping up at every try.
Ms Anderson said: "I thought it was amazing, I just think that you can really feel the spirit all the way from South Africa and I just think we've stood stronger together and we've come out winners at the end of it, so I'm super proud, super proud."
She was in King's Lynn visiting family and said she was expecting South Africa to win despite jeers from her uncle in the build up to the match, Ms Anderson had to make her own South Africa flags as there were none on sale in Lynn.
The England fans were gracious in defeat with many congratulating Ms Anderson, one fan James Jarry said: "They were the better side, even with the controversial knock-on decision they still would've beat us wouldn't they."
Bacon rolls and cups of tea were handed out to a passionate support at Broadland Rugby Club, as club members and local rugby fans came together to support England in their world cup final clash with South Africa.
Broadland who's first team play in the Eastern Counties League are hoping that the success of the national rugby team will encourage players to take up the sport.
Club secretary James Dudley, said: "Rugby is the most inclusive sport around, currently we have two adult male playing teams, so if someone fancies dusting of their boots and returning to the game or coming down to training and having a go, they would be warmly welcomed."
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