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‘May the best team win’: Harry joins Japan’s Crown Prince to watch rugby final

Harry delivered a message to the England team from the Queen.

Harry, left, watches next to Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Harry, left, watches next to Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

By PA Reporter

The Duke of Sussex joined Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino in the stands for the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama after predicting it would be a “fantastic game”.

Harry arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, with wife Meghan and son Archie remaining at home, and delivered a good luck message to the England team from the Queen.

Before the match, the duke said the tournament had been “incredible”, and praised Japan for its hosting.

In a video shared by the official Rugby World Cup Twitter account, Harry said: “Our guys know what to do.

“May the best team win. I think the competition is going to finish the way it started, which is spectacularly.”

He added: “The way they (Japan) have hosted this whole competition has been incredible. I think that the way they respect each other, the way that they’ve respected the game and the way they’ve respected the travelling teams has been typically Japanese.”

Earlier, Harry warmed up for the final at a training session for would-be Japanese Paralympians – and discovered that one or two of them were rooting for England’s opponents.

“Who are you guys supporting tonight?”, he asked a group of wheelchair rugby players at Tokyo’s new Para Arena for disabled athletes.

Back came a chorus of “England” before Tomoshige Kabetani piped up: “South Africa!”

“I’ll have a word later,” joked Harry. “You might not get selected for the Paralympics!”

Tomoshige, 32, explained that South Africa had been Japan’s last opponents in the tournament, hence his support for the Springboks, before adding: “This year you became a father. We are so happy.”

At which point the whole group gave the duke a round of applause.

Harry was shown around by power-lifter Eri Yamamoto, 36, who hopes to compete at next summer’s Tokyo Paralympics.

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The Duke of Sussex is greeted by powerlifter Eri Yamamoto (Tomohiro Ohsumi/PA)

Having been at the 2012 London Paralympics as part of the Japanese support team, she told Harry that she hopes that Tokyo 2020 can be a worthy successor.

“London set the bar very high,” she said.

The duke explained how 2012 had transformed public interest in disabled sport – “it’s just got bigger and bigger,” he said – and he wished Tokyo well for next year.

Harry also met a group of schoolchildren including Shiyo Sudo, 12, who said that he was “very handsome” and pointed at his wedding ring.

“I’m married!” Harry said proudly, holding up his left hand to cheers and hoots of laughter.

PA

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