FANS, pub owners and rugby clubs are all gearing up for England’s chance to win their first world cup in 16 years.

Featuring in the 23-man England rugby union team to face South Africa today is Mark Wilson, who made his way through the Penrith Rugby Club youth teams before going on to bigger things.

The Cumbrian flanker came on in the 70th minute of England’s semi-final win against New Zealand and has again been named among the replacements for the final in Japan.

Another local name in the England fold is Carlisle-born Steve Borthwick, who is the forwards coach.

Pubs, bars and rugby clubs are all opening early to showcase the game. “We are open at 8am and are expecting a lot of people down,” said the secretary of Carlisle Rugby Club, David Morton.

“We are serving breakfasts and are encouraging people to come down and watch. If earlier games are anything to go by there will be a great attendance.”

Mr Morton (inset) is hoping the success of the England team could inspire local youngsters.

“The last time England won the World Cup, if previous experience is anything to go by, there will be an upsurge in the interest in the game.

“There was a lot more young people interesting in playing the game. From under six to senior rugby there was an increase in interest.”

There is a real buzz around the club, according to the Carlisle City Councillor.

“Everybody is looking forward to the game, everyone is hoping for a win and a good game.

“I am as confident as I can be. If they play with the same intensity as they did against the All Blacks last week, hopefully it will be the same result and they will win.

“Every game is different though, obviously.”

The success of England’s Mark Wilson could make becoming an England star appear more achievable for the next generation of stars.

“There is an interest generally where people achieve great things, if they come from Cumbria all the better.

“We had Chris Harris playing for Scotland (born in Carlisle) and Mark Wilson who was born in Kendal.

“Anything that encourages people to become involved and increases their own aspirations.

“If they see people like Mark it will encourage them to reach those heights too.”

Equally as optimistic is Creighton Rugby Club first team player and under-eight team coach, Martyn Harrison.

“You can’t write them off. I said against New Zealand if we can keep Underhill (Sam) and Curry (Tom) completely fit we have a fighting chance - they have been fantastic.

“It is nice for the kids to see there is a local lad in the 23 in Mark Wilson.”

Mr Harrison, 32, says the club is already reaping the benefits of England’s success.

“I know we are already.

“I coach the under-eights and we have had three kids down to the group saying they want to give it a go.

“Any impact is welcome.”

He believes England’s success may come down to two areas.

“The break down and keeping Faf de Klerk quiet, he is a bundle of energy.

“I am (excited), I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.”

Carlisle establishments opening early for the England game:

Bartons Yard, Warwick Road - 8.30am

Carlisle Rugby Club, Warwick Road - For kick-off

Cornerstone Cafe, Denton Street - 8.45am

Creighton Rugby Club, Sycamore Lane - 8.30am with free sausage and bacon sandwiches

Harraby Catholic Club, Edgehill Road - 8.30am with free sausage and bacon sandwiches

Harraby Pub and Kitchen, Harraby Grove - 8.30am

Howard Arms, Lowther Street - For kick-off

Howard Arms Brampton - 8.30am

RAOB Club, Fisher Street - For kick-off

The Apple Tree, Lowther Street - For kick-off

The Currock Pub, Boundary Road - For kick-off

The Linton Holme, Lindisfarne Street - 8am

The Reiver, Holmrook Road - 8.30am

The Roadhouse, London Road - 8am

The Royal Oak, Scotby - 8.45am

The Wheatsheaf, Wetheral - For kick-off

The William Rufus, Botchergate - Open as normal at 8am

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