Rugby aftermath in Suffolk

DISAPPOINTED English rugby fans were today returning to work with their hopes of retaining the World Cup shattered.

DISAPPOINTED English rugby fans were today returning to work with their hopes of retaining the World Cup shattered.

Hundreds of supporters watched the tense game in the pubs around Ipswich, and despite the 15-6 score to South Africa in the Stade de France in Paris, the town centre was a trouble-free zone, with many remaining good-spirited.

Customers in the town centre's Cock and Pye pub, Upper Orwell Street, even ordered champagne following the game-presumably to drown their sorrows or celebrate reaching the finals in the first place.

Alex Catto, trainee manager at the pub, said: “Despite the result, it was a brilliant night - probably the best ever evening we have had here.

“The pub was full and there was a queue of about 40 people outside too. We sold about five or six bottles of champagne and there was a good atmosphere.

“After it finished, we put music on and it was fantastic.

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“There were about 10 to 20 South African supporters but there was no trouble whatsoever.”

Springbok fan Mike Elbrow, who helps to manage the 1st team at Ipswich Rugby Club, and his son, Shaun, joined hundreds of others to watch the game at the club in Humber Doucy Lane.

Mr Elbrow, 43, of Hadleigh Road, who has lived in Ipswich for seven years, said: “I am ecstatic. I thought it was a normal cup final game with both teams not wanting to lose.

“I was a bit worried when England scored that try that wasn't- and it wasn't a try in my view. After that I think South Africa had the game sorted out.

“There was a great atmosphere there. There were only about five or six of us supporting South Africa but most people did not mind us jumping up and down and cheering at the end.”

Ipswich businessman David Dodds was one of the lucky ones to watch the game in Paris.

The joint managing director of Great Blakenham-based Sackers Recycling, said: “It was a shame we didn't get the trophy and break the record but we had a great day and it is the memories more than anything you go for.

“I would do it all over again and I have no regrets, it was a wonderful experience.”

Mr Dodds estimated he was among 50,000 English supporters in the Stade de France and said the atmosphere was wonderful.

An estimated 60,000 people travelled to Paris from England to show their support, with those without tickets converging on the Eiffel Tower where the game was relayed on a giant screen.

nWhere did you watch the game? What did you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail