OXFORDSHIRE’S rugby clubs are hoping global success for the national team can inspire the next generation of youngsters.

Clubhouses across the county have been packed with fans of all ages cheering England on during their run to Saturday’s World Cup final.

But for many grassroots teams, getting young players interested during the tournament is the easy bit.

The hard work starts after Eddie Jones’s men return from Japan, and Matt Goode, head coach and youth development officer at South West 1 East side Banbury Bulls, hopes beating South Africa can lay the foudations for years to come.

He said: “If England win on Saturday I think we’ll see a new generation of rugby players.

“If you look at our minis and junior sections, quite a lot of people will have come in off the back of the World Cup, but we do a lot in the community to attract new people as well.

“The success of the World Cup will bring lots more in on top of that.”

Banbury are one of many clubs across Oxfordshire with a thriving youth section, with ten age group teams leading up to men’s rugby.

Each one has three to four dedicated coaches and Goode believes this is vital in ensuring up-and-coming players have the right tools to develop.

He added: “Oxfordshire has got a brilliant structure – we’re very good at making sure we’ve got enough coaches to players.”

Goode is also head of community at National League 1 outfit Chinnor, where participation has risen by almost ten per cent across all age groups this season.

The club’s minis and juniors chairman, Richard Hinde-Smith, admits this is not solely down to the World Cup, but hailed their own programmes.

First-team players and coaching staff regularly visit local schools, while more than 1,600 players from 17 clubs are set to attend the Chinnor Mini Festival on November 24.

Hinde-Smith said: “I see it as a long term strategy – we’ll reap the rewards if England win on Saturday.

“We want to grow the teams organically, but we have to provide a good offering in a fun environment and young players have to commit.”

Stuart Wells, Oxford Harlequins’ director of rugby, revealed the ‘upsurge’ in new players at Quins resulting from the World Cup has even included players in their early 20s.

He agreed that clubs must ensure they are making the sport enjoyable to youngsters, with contact games not allowed to start until under 9 level.

He said: “Their first experience of rugby is nothing like as physical as the adult game.

“As long as the environment is fun, the kids will stay. It’s really important to keep them playing as long as possible.”

With rugby becoming more powerful all the time, many players are lost to the game during the progression up the age groups.

And stopping youngsters from losing interest in the sport is also up to governing body the Rugby Football Union, according to Henley Hawks’ director of rugby, Nigel Dudding.

He said: “The RFU must move forward with the legacy that will come from hopefully being world champions.

“The clubs can do what they can, but we have to make sure the RFU are fully supporting grassroots rugby.

“It needs to survive and thrive.”