England fans at Yokohama station ahead of the final

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England fans arrived in Yokohama ahead of the final

England fans are glued to television screens up and down the country as 15 men in white line up to face South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final.

The game, which kicked off at 09:00 GMT, is being played in Japan but almost 6,000 miles away back home excitement reached fever pitch.

England were last in the final 12 years ago and last won it 16 years ago.

Fans are understandably excited at the prospect of captain Owen Farrell lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

The Queen has sent a letter of support via Prince Harry to England’s head coach Eddie Jones calling for a “memorable and successful” final.

Tens of thousands of Red Rose supporters have travelled to Japan with the hope of securing a ticket for the eagerly-anticipated clash.

Millions more will were expected to watch back home, hoping Jones’s side can emulate the 2003 vintage led by Sir Clive Woodward.

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These England fans in Japan dressed up as Beefeaters for the much-anticipated final

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A group of England fans wait for their train on the way to the Yokohama International Stadium

As you would expect, a large number of rugby clubs were planning to show the match, which is taking place at the 72,000-capacity Yokohama International Stadium.

There was extra excitement at Crewe and Nantwich Rugby Club as their former player Tom Curry was lining up for England.

“We are really excited and are hoping Tom has a great game,” said coach John Farr earlier.

“He’s had a great tournament so far.”

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Tom Curry has played every minute of England’s World Cup campaign

Mr Farr said there would be “bacon butties and beer” and forecast some “sore heads on Sunday”.

“We are really, really proud that a player who has taken to the field in a Crewe and Nantwich shirt is gong to go out and hopefully lift the Webb Ellis trophy,” he said.

A crowded clubhouse was also expected at Manchester Rugby Club in Cheadle Hulme where England’s Ben Spencer used to play.

Bridgnorth Rugby Club in Shropshire was planning to show the game despite having its marquee wrecked and pitches submerged by flood water in recent days.

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Prince Harry met wheelchair rugby players in Tokyo before the World Cup final

The town that gave its name to the game – Rugby in Warwickshire – was also gearing up for the World Cup.

James Reeve, the landlord of the Merchant Inn, opened up early and said even Springbok supporters were welcome.

“I’ve got some good friends that are South Africans who live in Rugby so I’m really looking forward to that rivalry and banter we’ll have,” he said.

‘Bragging rights’

Meanwhile in Birmingham, newlyweds Rosie and Ken Marshall were facing an early test of their marriage as they cheered for competing sides, having spent their honeymoon in Japan following the World Cup.

“Rosie and I will be happy for the other whatever the result – even if bragging rights will be decided for the next four years,” said Mr Marshall, 37, originally from Johannesburg.

“It will be a great match and I just hope England win,” said 31-year-old Mrs Marshall.

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Newlyweds Ken and Rosie Marshall will be cheering for opposing sides

Both agreed that Mrs Marshall would be the loudest of the two during the big match but, as Mr Marshall confided, “it’s her dad and brother that will be unbearable for the next four years”.

England Rugby has been getting into the swing of things – much like a sweet chariot maybe – by tweeting videos of the team’s previous victories over South Africa.

Not that there’s that many at the World Cup, the Springboks having won three of their four World Cup encounters with the English.

But don’t be disheartened, New Zealand had won all three of their previous World Cup games against England before this year’s semi-final, which Jones’s side won 19-7.

Pupils at Moreton Hall Prep School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, have also voiced their support for England ahead of the game (be warned, they are loud!)

The final also promises to be a particularly memorable occasion in the Van Wellen household.

The future sporting allegiance of 11-month-old Finley depends upon the outcome of the match – as his parents Kris and Mel support the Springboks and England respectively.

Mr and Mrs Van Wellen, who live in Nottinghamshire, have decided Finley will be raised a fan of whoever wins the final.

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Kris Van Wellen

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The final is a big day for the Van Wellen family

Jack Crawford, 21, is planning to get up at 06:00 to start his preparations for watching the game at home in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, with his father Scott, who will have just finished a supermarket night shift.

“He won’t be getting any sleep until after the match has finished,” Jack said.

“My prediction is England 40-10 South Africa.”

Not every fan will be watching though, as some can’t bear the pressure.

“I recorded the semi-final and watched it only once I knew the result,” said Mandi Allen from Darlington.

“I just couldn’t stand the pressure. Because I did that at the semis, I’m worried about jinxing the final now if I watch it live.

“I’m so excited though, I reckon England will win 34-24.”

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Mandi Allen

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Mandi Allen is predicting an England win

The Evening Standard estimates some 2,000 pubs and bars will open early in London to show the game, while Boxparks in the capital will also be showing coverage from 08:00.

Thousands of pubs are opening across the rest of the country, from Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle in the north to Gloucester and Cheltenham in the south west.

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