Alnwick boys at Rugby World Cup Final

A group of youngsters from Alnwick Rugby Club have just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Japan, where the highlight was watching England in the World Cup Final.
The Alnwick boys in Japan, meeting the England players and outside the stadium.The Alnwick boys in Japan, meeting the England players and outside the stadium.
The Alnwick boys in Japan, meeting the England players and outside the stadium.

The boys, who are all members of the club’s U16s, made the trip to Japan for a tour, coinciding with the Rugby World Cup.

They arrived in time to see England beat the New Zealand All Blacks in the semi-finals, and then took in the third placed play-off game between New Zealand and Wales, which the All Blacks won.

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But unbeknown to them, a local businessman from Alnwick, and the parent of one of the boys, had laid on an unexpected treat.

Robert Cook, owner of the Cookie Jar and MD of Virgin Active, had arranged tickets for the final between England and South Africa in Yokohama.

A spokesman for the club said: “Just before the bronze final I received a message from Robert, offering tickets for all the kids to the final in Yokohama.

“It obviously didn’t take long to say yes, so after our game at 1pm, the kids plus three chaperones were off to see England take on South Africa.

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“We were genuinely shocked at this as it was never part of the plan. It was the icing on what was already a very well decorated cake. Some members of the party genuinely shed a few tears when this happened.”

Later they added: “Well it wasn’t to be. Everything on the trip just kept falling in place as if it was destiny, but unfortunately England winning wasn’t part of it (they lost the final 32-12 to the Springboks, who

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lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy for the third time).

“But we still had an amazing night at the stadium and the pain of loss will wear off.”

On what many described as the trip of a lifetime, the Alnwick boys played a number of games against club sides in Japan, visited a Shinto shrine and took in Halloween in Tokyo, which was quite an experience.

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Another highlight, on a trip of many, was a visit to the England training camp ahead of the final, when they rubbed shoulders with the likes of captain Owen Farrell, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Anthony Watson and Manu Tuilagi.

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