Prince Harry today joined Japan‘s Crown Prince Akishino and Prince Albert of Monaco in the stands at the Rugby World Cup final – as England suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of South Africa.
England were stunned by South Africa’s relentless intensity as their World Cup quest ended with a crushing 32-12 defeat in the final at International Stadium, Yokohama in Japan.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, watched the game alongside Crown Prince Akishino, 53, and his wife Princess Kiko, 53, having left wife Meghan at home in Windsor – who watched the game alongside baby Archie who was dressed in an England onesie for the occasion.
Harry was also joined by Albert II, Prince of Monaco, 61, and ahead of the game hadpraised Japan for the way it has hosted the competition commending their ‘respect’.
He said the competition has been ‘incredible’ as he prepared for the World Cup Final clash. ‘I think it’s fantastic for rugby,’ he said. ‘Japan, the way that they’ve hosted this competition has been incredible.’
The Duke of Sussex had earlier in the day spent time at a training session for would-be Japanese Paralympians in Tokyo – and discovered that one or two of them were rooting for England’s opponents.
Prince Harry talks to Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex shakes hands with Albert II, Prince of Monaco in the stands during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final
The Duke also embraced Albert II, Prince of Monaco, in the stands. Albert is the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace, Princess of Monaco formerly Grace Kelly, the American actress
Prince Harry talks to Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa
The Duke of Sussex, 35, said the competition has been ‘incredible’ as he arrived for England’s clash against South Africa today
As he arrived, Prince Harry (pictured with Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino) said: ‘The way [the Japanese] respect each other, the way they’ve respected the game, and the way they’ve respected the travelling teams. Typically Japanese, remarkable.’
The Duke of Sussex (pictured with Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino) has already delivered several messages of support and Meghan Markle will be watching at home with baby Archie
In a video shared by the official Rugby World Cup Twitter account, Harry predicted the final would be a ‘fantastic game’. ‘Our guys know what to do,’ he said (he is pictured in the stands during the game)
Britain’s Prince Harry (left) talks to Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino (centre) beside Crown Princess Kiko (right)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (left) speaks to Fumihito, Crown Prince Akishino (right) in the stands during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium
Before the game, in a video shared by the official Rugby World Cup Twitter account, Harry predicted the final would be a ‘fantastic game’ (he is pictured with Crown Prince Akishino)
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont (left), whose work with World Rugby takes him around the globe (he is pictured talking to Prince Harry during the Rugby World Cup final today)
The Duke of Sussex (centre) sits alongside World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont (centre left) during the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. Beaumont is chairman of World Rugby and he was named in the new year’s honours list
He added: ‘The way they respect each other, the way they’ve respected the game, and the way they’ve respected the travelling teams. Typically Japanese, remarkable.
‘Look, our guys know what they need to do. I think it’s going to be a fantastic game of rugby. May the best team win.
‘There are hundreds of millions of people watching. I think the competition’s going to finish just as it started. Which is again, spectacular.’
The Duke led hundreds of thousands of rugby fans in Japan gathering for the World Cup final as Eddie Jones’ team vie for their second world title.
He has already delivered several messages of support and Meghan Markle will be watching at home with baby Archie while Zara Tindall and her ex-rugby player husband are also in Japan to watch the game.
Millions of fans gathered in pubs across England for the game that kicked off at 9am today. Supporters have now had to shelve their dreams for another four years after an early start to watch England.
Despite the disappointment, most people were magnanimous about South Africa’s victory.
Boris Johnson had tweeted a picture of himself watching the game with his dog, with the caption: ‘Come on England!’
He later wrote: ‘Hats off to South Africa who were just rocklike in defence today but @EnglandRugby can hold their heads high after an amazing tournament.’
Former England player turned pundit Brian Moore tweeted: ‘Congratulations to South Africa – world champions with a fantastic physical and technical display in the set piece and at the breakdown.
‘No complaints; England outplayed in every area.’
Jeremy Corbyn wrote: ‘Commiserations to @englandrugby. It wasn’t to be today but you’ve done us proud throughout this World Cup.’
Sadiq Khan posted: ‘Thank you @englandrugby for a terrific, thrilling tournament. You did us proud!
‘Congratulations to South Africa on the win. #RWC2019’
As he arrived, the Duke of Sussex praised Japan for the way it has hosted the Rugby World Cup as he arrived for the Rugby World Cup final today
Britain’s Prince Harry (centre left) and Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino (centre right) talk ahead of the Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa (right, Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino beside Crown Princess Kiko)
Britain’s Prince Harry (left), Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino (second-from-left), Crown Prince Kiko (centre) and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) applaud during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match
Prince Harry and Bill Beaumont, Chairman of World Rugby, look despondent as England trail behind in the World Cup final
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks to Bill Beaumont, Chairman of World Rugby in the stands during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium in Yokohama
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont is among those in attendance, and was seen speaking to Prince Harry during the game (right, Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino beside Crown Princess Kiko)
The Duke of Sussex in the stands during the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match at Yokohama Stadium
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks with Crown Prince Akishino prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final
The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry (centre-left) and Japanese Crown Prince Akishino (centre-right) look on during the Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama
Crown Prince Akishino is a member of the Japanese imperial family (he is pictured with Prince Harry). The Crown Prince is the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito and the younger son of Emperor emeritus Akihito and Empress emerita Michiko
Crown Prince Akishino (left) and Kiko, Crown Princess Akishino (centre) speak to Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canon and 2019 Rugby World Cup Organising Committee Chairman (right) in the stands during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final
Prince Harry in the stands ahead of the Rugby World Cup final today. Before he arrived he praised Japan for how it had hosted the 2019 Rugby World Cup
The Duke of Sussex arrives at the stadium prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa (left and right)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex is interviewed prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama
To give the boys an extra push, the Duke of Sussex delivered a personal message from the Queen and thanked the team for ‘inspiring’ the country.
He warmed up for the Rugby World Cup final at a training session for would-be Japanese Paralympians – and discovered that one or two of them were rooting for England’s opponents.
‘Who are you guys supporting tonight?’, he asked a group of wheelchair rugby players at Tokyo’s new Para Arena for disabled athletes.
Back came a chorus of ‘England’ before Tomoshige Kabetani piped up: ‘South Africa!’
‘I’ll have a word later,’ joked Harry. ‘You might not get selected for the Paralympics!’
Tomoshige, 32, explained that South Africa had been Japan’s last opponents in the tournament, hence his support for the Springboks, before adding: ‘This year you became a father. We are so happy.’
At which point the whole group gave the duke a round of applause.
Dressed in a casual shirt, blue chinos and trainers, Harry was shown around by power-lifter Eri Yamamoto, 36, who hopes to compete at next summer’s Tokyo Paralympics.
Having been at the 2012 London Paralympics as part of the Japanese support team, she told Harry that she hopes that Tokyo 2020 can be a worthy successor.
‘London set the bar very high,’ she said.
The duke explained how 2012 had transformed public interest in disabled sport – ‘it’s just got bigger and bigger,’ he said – and he wished Tokyo well for next year.
England players receive silver medals after the Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa at International Yokohama Stadium
South Africa celebrated wildly as the team collected the Webb Ellis trophy (pictured, South Africa’s flanker Siya Kolisi, centre, lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final)
Pure horror: A fan watching the game at London’s Flat Iron Square looked devastated at England’s unfortunate start
Fans at Boxpark in Wembley, north west London, looked downtrodden as their eyes were glued to the screen during the game
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, talks with children during a boccia training session as he visits Para Arena, a purpose-built para sports training centre, in Tokyo, on Saturday
The Duke of Sussex leaves a photo session with students as he visits the Nippon Foundation Para Arena in Tokyo, Japan
Harry looks eager to give boccia a try as he grips balls in his right hand while talking to an athlete in Tokyo on Saturday
The royal was seen smiling and laughing with the athletes at the Para Arena in Tokyo on Saturday
Harry makes a gesture during a conversation with his guests at Para Arena in Tokyo on Saturday
The Para Arena is a newly built complex for para-athletes that was constructed with the 2020 Paralympic Games in mind. The Games, like the Summer Olympic games next year, will be played in Tokyo
Harry greets wheel-chair rugby athletes during their training session at the Para Arena in Tokyo on Saturday
Harry also met a group of schoolchildren including Shiyo Sudo, 12, who said that he was ‘very handsome’ and pointed at his wedding ring.
‘I’m married!’ Harry said proudly, holding up his left hand to cheers and hoots of laughter.
The Queen sent the team her ‘very best wishes for a memorable and successful match’, saying the ‘performances during the tournament have delighted supporters, and inspired many people throughout the country’.
Prince Harry, who hand-delivered the message, also sent his own good luck message, accompanied by a photo of Archie in a red rose jersey.
Harry is patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
The Duchess of Sussex, who has stayed at home, revealed their five-month-old son Archie will wear a mini England jersey when they watch the final on TV.
Thousands of England and South Africa fans began filling the streets – and bars – of Yokohama seven hours before the Rugby World Cup final was due to kick off today.
One primary school teacher admitted she left her job to be there for the fixture.
Teacher Ann Wheeler, 27, said: ‘No school is going to give a teacher six weeks off to watch rugby – but when will I get the chance to come out to Japan and do this again?’
YOKOHAMA, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Thousands of England and South Africa fans began filling the streets – and bars – of Yokohama seven hours before the Rugby World Cup final was due to kick off
England fans pose for pictures as they await kick off in Yokohama today, with several donning fancy dress for the clash today
Father Christmas even made an appearance at the stadium today. England head coach Eddie Jones named an unchanged team for the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa in Yokohama
England fans, dressed in the country’s colours show their support ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match at Yokohama Stadium
England fans await the start of the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama
The Queen and the Prime Minister have sent messages of good luck to the team, while the Duke of Sussex has travelled to Japan for the game (pictured, fans gather outside the stadium)
England fans gathered outside International Stadium Yokohama ahead of the game
All eyes were on Yokohama on Saturday morning, as England prepared to take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final (pictured, England fans shows their support ahead of the game)
The teacher appeared on Good Morning Britain yesterday where her and her girlfriend, Genevieve Moody, gave a rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
England supporter Jamie took a different view, saying: ‘Well, England play the better rugby, South Africa play boring, military-style, vicious rugby. We play the aesthetically pleasing run-around rugby, so we deserve to win and we will.’
The other hot topics of conversation were tickets and travel – how much paid (around two thousand pounds seemingly the going rate) and what last-minute arrangements were made to get here.
‘One minute I was planning a ‘watch the rugby breakfast’ at my local club in London and the next I’m going straight from the airport and watching New Zealand v Wales in an Irish bar last night – I didn’t even go to the hotel on the way,’ said England fan Matt – clad in an immaculate Crusader outfit, complete with inflatable shield.
‘I came in via Osaka this morning – I only booked the flight on Thursday,’ said James. ‘I’m spending more on three days here than on a two week summer holiday but I just couldn’t miss it.’
Some 5,000 pubs and bars are opening early – including 2,000 in London – as eager fans prepare to watch England contest the showpiece match for only the fourth time in history as anticipation reaches fever pitch.
England’s rugby stars and their glamorous wives and girlfriends enjoyed the sights of Tokyo before the match.
Mr Marshall, 37, is originally from Johannesburg and lives with his English bride, 31, in Birmingham.
They will don their respective team shirts at home this morning after returning to the UK last week.
Fans await the start of the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama
England head coach Eddie Jones named an unchanged team for the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa in Yokohama (pictured, fans outside the stadium)
One fan even wore the line-up to the game today, as he immortalised the historic game with his outfit. Thousands of fans have gathered for clash which is due to kick off at 9am
England fans appeared in good spirits ahead of the game in at Yokohama Stadium today. Many donned mixed British and Japanese attire ahead of kick-off
Eddie Jones’ men are favourites and unchanged after that stunning victory over the All Blacks in the semi-final while Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks are in Yokohama thanks to their narrow win against Wales (pictured, England fans outside the stadium today)
Hot topics of conversation among fans were tickets and travel – how much paid (around two thousand pounds seemingly the going rate) and what last-minute arrangements were made to get here (pictured, fans outside the stadium)
This showdown is a rematch of the 2007 final, which saw the Springboks triumph 15-6 in Paris, and with the Red Rose out for revenge,
England fan show their support ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match at Yokohama Stadium
Newlyweds Rosie and Ken Marshall will cheer on rival teams after spending their honeymoon travelling around Japan to follow their sides.
Mr Marshall said: ‘They are the best England team I’ve ever seen. But I’ll always be a South Africa supporter and back the Boks in any match, especially a final.
‘Rosie and I will be happy for the other whatever the result, even if bragging rights will be decided for the next four years.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined in with the final fever, declaring: ‘The whole country is behind you – through every kick, ruck, lineout and maul.
‘Come on England! Bring the World Cup home.’
England head coach Eddie Jones named an unchanged team for the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa in Yokohama.
Jones predictably retained the side that destroyed semi-final opponents New Zealand last weekend as England looked to emulate the Jonny Wilkinson-inspired class of 2003 and be crowned world champions.
South Africa, twice World Cup winners, welcomed back star wing Cheslin Kolbe after he missed the semi-final victory over Wales due to an ankle injury.
Eddie Jones’ side were the favourites to take the Webb Ellis trophy for the first time since 2003.
It’s the first final since 2007 that hasn’t included New Zealand. The streets leading to the International Stadium are filling up with rugby fans and many of them are wearing All Blacks jerseys.
Traveling New Zealanders would have expected to see their team in the final, given the expectations back home and the fact that the All Blacks won rugby’s biggest prize back-to-back in 2011 and `15.
Instead, they had to make do with the bronze medal after the All Blacks beat Wales 40-17 in the third-place playoff on Friday.
Eddie Jones’ men are favourites and unchanged after that stunning victory over the All Blacks in the semi-final in while Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks are in Yokohama thanks to their narrow win against Wales.
This showdown is a rematch of the 2007 final, which saw the Springboks triumph 15-6 in Paris, and with the Red Rose out for revenge.
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