England’s Ben Youngs a ‘badge of pride’ at Holt Rugby Club
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Bosses at a north Norfolk rugby club are hoping that interest in the World Cup will inspire youngsters to become the Ben Youngs of the future.
The England scrum half went to Gresham's school in Holt, and played for Holt and North Walsham rugby clubs.
About 200 people packed into the club where it all started for him to watch the World Cup final between England and South Africa on Saturday.
The crowd included current and ex-players, committee members and families, many wearing England rugby shirts.
And although there were sad faces at the end, as England lost 32-12, it was a great turn-out.
Paul Knight, the club's under 14s coach, said: "It's a fantastic way to promote the sport. It was not a great result for England, but win, lose or draw, rugby was always going to be the winner.
"We've got a fantastic club atmosphere, a really family-friendly club, and want to grow the game."
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Club captain Henry Harrison said Youngs, who was born in Aylsham, was an inspiration to everyone.
He added: "There's a great turn-out here with all ages, which is great for the club."
Ken Swallow, 84, from Holt, who still plays touch rugby, said: "The turn-out's really good for the club. There's a good atmosphere, but it was better last week when we won."
South African Corne Wheeler and son Euan, 11, understandably enjoyed the game.
He has been at the rugby club since 1998 and lives at Aylmerton.
He was so noisy in his support for the Springboks that some of the England fans good-naturedly dragged him out of the clubhouse at one point.
Paul Williams, the club's president, said: "The atmosphere was awesome and Ben Youngs, who started his career aged six playing for the minis at Holt, played his 95th cap.
"Having Ben connected to the club is a badge of pride and words cannot really describe it. A lot of his family still live in the area. I don't think there's pressure on the younger players to emulate him. It's more excitement as they look on him as an inspiration."