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Norfolk rugby clubs expect to see player boost following World Cup

PUBLISHED: 16:12 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 04 November 2019

England's Ben Youngs, right, during the Rugby World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and England. Picture AP Photo/Christophe Ena.

England's Ben Youngs, right, during the Rugby World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and England. Picture AP Photo/Christophe Ena.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Norfolk rugby clubs are hoping for a boost in players after England reached the World Cup final.

An exciting point as England rugby fans watch England against South Africa in the World Cup final at Holt Rugby Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAn exciting point as England rugby fans watch England against South Africa in the World Cup final at Holt Rugby Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Although England's tournament ended with defeat to South Africa, lots of new faces are set to appear at rugby clubs around the county.

Around 200 people cheered on England scrum half Ben Youngs at Holt Rugby Club, where he played as a boy, and the club's press officer Martyn Sloman said there was "immense interest" throughout the tournament.

"There has been tremendous enthusiasm around the club, although the game did end in disappointment," he said. "We've seen immense interest throughout this World Cup as Ben came through at Holt before playing for North Walsham.

"He has got a huge family connection at the club with father Nick, who also played scrum half for England, still heavily involved at Holt."

Mr Sloman, who is a mentor at Fakenham Sixth Form, has also seen "considerable enthusiasm" from students.

On Sunday Youngs reflected on his World Cup experience and said he was "so proud" to be involved.

He tweeted: "All I can say is this has been the most enjoyable time of my rugby life. We couldn't have done anymore and sometimes on the night that isn't enough.

"I'm so proud and thankful that I was a part of this group. I couldn't have asked for a better experience so thank you."

Wymondham Rugby Football Club are also expecting numbers to bolster in the coming weeks.

Spokesman Andrew Thomson said: "We are expecting to see an uptake, particularly in kids.

"Hopefully the atmosphere at the World Cup in Japan can persuade parents to bring their children along and have a go."

Paul Morse, of North Walsham Rugby club, said he thinks the club will see a lot more youngsters coming to try the sport.

"If participation does boost, we are expecting there to be more interest amongst young people," he said. "We have a very successful school, youth and minis system, where we are hoping more people come forward and play.

"As a club, Ben comes most summers to help out, and his family have a lot of friends here and are still involved at North Walsham.

"We hope the experience of the World Cup will encourage people to watch our game against Sudbury on Saturday."

Kick off is at 3pm at the club's Norwich Road ground and the Vikings are currently top of the league with maximum points.

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