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England takes Rugby World Cup with cardinal's support

Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor sent a message of support to the England Rugby team on Friday as they prepared for victory in Saturday's World Cup Final in Sydney.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who played rugby at a senior level in England and Italy, said: "As a life long rugby fan, I have followed the home nations' performances in this World Cup very closely and, like millions of others across the country, will be following every kick and tackle live on television tomorrow morning.

"We have seen some tremendous performances from the England team in this competition already and as we approach the climax of the tournament in Sydney, I know they will continue to do us all proud."

He told them in his message of support: "There is real sense of joy and pride in your performance in this Rugby World Cup. You have been great ambassadors for England and for rugby. The whole nation is behind you today, willing every man in the team to new heights and new success. We cannot expect God to take sides on a day like this, but my prayer will be, of course, that the best team does win. Good luck and God Bless."

The Cardinal was not disappointed, with England beating defending champions Australia 20-17 in a thrilling final at

Cardinal Cormac sends message of support to England Rugby team (Independent Catholic News 21/11/03)

Rugby World Cup
Wilkinson: Team spirit won World Cup (BBC 23/11/03)

24 Nov 2003