Queen Elizabeth II has sent a good luck message to the England team ahead of their clash with South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday, telling Eddie Jones’s side they have “inspired many people.”
The Queen, whose grandson Prince Harry is patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and will attend the final in Yokohama, added that the team’s performances have been a delight to watch.
England are bidding to win the World Cup for a second time – they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the dying seconds of extra-time in the 2003 final – while the Springboks can lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.
The last time they won it in 2007 they beat England and Jones was a consultant for the winners.
“Your performances during the tournament have delighted supporters, and inspired many people throughout the country,” said the British monarch in a message she gave to Harry to pass on to the team.
Prince Harry also sent a message ahead of travelling to Japan.
His wife Meghan, who has stayed in England, revealed their five-month-old son Archie will wear a mini England jersey when they watch the final on TV.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a confident goodwill message.
“I think I speak on behalf of millions of people in this country in wishing the best of luck to England in the World Cup final against South Africa,” said Johnson.
“Looking at what they can do, I absolutely know they can bring back the William Webb Ellis Cup from Japan.
“Go for it England! You’ve got an amazing ability to win, I’ve never seen a time like it. Come on England, win the World Cup!”
A Briton already with a world title to her credit this year, 200 metres queen Dina Asher-Smith said she had few doubts England would be bringing the trophy back.
“I am a huge England fan. And I am forever an optimist so of course I think we’ll smash it,” said the 23-year-old.
Golden Globe-winning actress Ruth Wilson made an unusual offer, hoping it would spur the team on.
“If they win, they would get a kiss from me,” she said. “Every single one of them. I hope that encourages them. It might put them off!”