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Prince Harry urges fans to keep cheering on Rugby World Cup

Prince Harry and England captain Chris Robshaw share a joke. Credit: PA

Prince Harry wants England rugby fans to keep supporting the Rugby World Cup, despite the host nations' somewhat underwhelming performance.

Addressing around 400 players, coaches, referees and volunteers at Buckingham Palace, Harry said it was a privilege to see the tournament being enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

The Prince speaks with Australia's Stephen Moore and coach Micheal Cheika. Credit: PA Wire
Her Majesty gazes at 'Old Bill' - the William Webb Ellis trophy. Credit: PA Wire

In his role as honorary president of England 2015 he said:

Although only half way through, we have witnessed some truly memorable moments, and one or two upsets.

England may no longer be represented on the pitch, but as a nation we are incredibly proud to be hosting such a successful tournament.

A showcase for rugby, which - I truly believe - will help grow the game through its excitement and increasing fan base.

– Prince Harry

The Queen was also there to welcome representatives from each of the 20 competing teams along with the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Royal.

Queen Elizabeth II speaks with (left to right) Scotland Rugby Union head coach Vern Cotter, Fran Leighton of England Rugby 2015 and Scotland Captain Greig Laidlaw Credit: PA

Speaking to South Africa's Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana, the prince said he hoped fans would rally behind other teams for the remainder of the competition.

Prince Harry with Matfield and Habana. Credit: PA

Matfield said: "I asked him if he thought people would still support now England is out.

"He said that the people still love rugby and hoped they will give support to some other home nation teams."

This was England's worst ever world cup campaign. Credit: PA Wire

Former England captain Bill Beaumont echoed Harry's sentiments that rugby fans should continue to support the World Cup.

He said: "It is important we get behind the whole tournament.

"We have two or three weeks to deliver the best World Cup ever.

"People should still support England. Just because they are not in it - it's times like these we need more support."

To disillusioned England fans he left this message: "Get yourselves ready - we will come back."

Harry was speaking at a reception at Buckingham Palace for people taking part in this year's Rugby World Cup.