THE Rugby World Cup might not have ended the way England fans had hoped, but for one rugby playing family it was still a dream come true.

Tom Curry, 21, who studied at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, was part of the England side that reached the final of the competition, before being defeated by South Africa 32-12 on Saturday.

For the occasion, he was joined by his twin brother Ben, who plays for Sale Sharks and his father David, headteacher at Bishop Heber.

Despite the loss, Tom’s family were delighted with his performances and the experiences of the World Cup, as Ben said speaking on television before the final.

“It’s a massive occasion for us as a family, we just want to be there to support Tom,” said Ben. “It’s absolutely incredible, and coming out here makes it that much more real.

“For him he’s worked so hard so it’s great to see that come into fruition, so we’re just massively proud of him.”

And for David added that despite the loss, Tom will be pleased with his achievements.

“He was naturally devastated when we spoke with him after their game on Saturday evening but equally he was personally reflective and felt he could do now more than he did and beaten by the better team in the night,” said David.

“I think he’ll be pleased overall when he looks back on what they have achieved making a Rugby World Cup final – first time in 12 years beating the best team in the world on the way.

“But for now a well-earned rest for a couple of weeks.”

Rugby fans back home in north Shropshire and beyond were left nursing their broken hearts as England’s hopes of World Cup glory were dashed by South Africa.

Whitchurch Rugby Club hosted a big match screening of the final on Saturday morning, complete with open bar and plenty of bacon and sausage baps to go round.

However, the fine fare proved a small consolation to the dozens of fans who turned to support England, as Eddie Jones’ team, including former Bishop Heber pupil Tom Curry in the line-up, were beaten 32-12 by the Springboks.

Whitchurch first XV skipper Jonathan Cope had seen the danger signs early in the second half as England struggled to find the attacking momentum which had carried them to a thrilling victory against New Zealand in the semi-final a week earlier.

Both the Whitchurch first and second teams were without a game at the weekend, which at least provided an opportunity to commiserate and discuss the what-might-have-beens over an extra pint or two.

Jonathan said: “We’ve got a week off now so we can concentrate on next week’s match against Stoke, which is going to be a really tough game.”