For better or worse - the husband and wife on both sides of the Rugby World Cup final
PUBLISHED: 14:56 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:20 03 November 2019
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In the end it wasn’t to be - but there was at least one smiling face at Ipswich Rugby Club as a packed clubhouse saw England fall at the final hurdle.
South African Chris Blom was the sole Springbok fan in the room as South Africa lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy following their 32-12 win.
Chris, who has lived in Britain for 15 years, watched the game with wife and England fan Michelle, who is manager of the clubhouse.
A former captain and current player for the First XV, he said: "It's hard to put into words what it means to win the World Cup, but it means such a lot for the country.
"Seeing a black captain, Siya Kolisi, lift the cup was just fantastic.
"It's certainly been a fun time at home this week, there's been a lot of banter between us."
Michelle agreed: "There's certainly been some fun and games between us building up to the match, there always is whenever England play South Africa.
"We're a rugby-loving family and while it's a shame to lose, rugby won and on the day the best team won.
The club had former player Lewis Ludlam, now with Northampton, play for England in the World Cup, although he did not feature in the final.
Club chairman Mick Hancock said: "It wasn't the result we wanted but England were beaten by the better team and we just have to take it on the chin.
"It's been a great morning though. We were having to turn people away who wanted to come and watch it here."
Ex-Ipswich player Nicky Hall said: "Our best game was against the All Blacks last week, it was a fantastic performance but it won't be remembered because we lost today in the final."
Fan Liz Hewitt, whose pet mini-dachsund Vivienne was sporting an England jacket, said: "South Africa deserved to win, although I think the referee had a bit of a shocker.
"But it's been a fabulous morning, I wouldn't have wanted to watch it anywhere else."
Millions tuned in to watch the game, which was good news for the takings for pubs and sports clubs across the county - in Ipswich, Isaac's on the Quay, Greshams, The Halberd Inn and Yates were just some of the venues in the town opening early to let fans watch over breakfast.
Did you watch the match, at home or at a pub or club? Email photos and video showing your reactions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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