EXCITEMENT is building at an England rugby star's former school ahead of the World Cup Final.

The Northern Echo has helped pupils at Barnard Castle School record a message wishing old boy Mathew Tait good luck.

The video will be sent to the Newcastle Falcons star as he prepares for the match against South Africa on Saturday.

The recording includes a chorus of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and a message from the County Durham school's first XV rugby team. Headmaster David Ewart said: "We are very proud of Mathew and all that he has achieved in his professional career.

"He was a wonderful example while he was at Barnard Castle School, because he always got his work done three or four weeks early, so that he could attend his England matches.

"It was no surprise when he achieved all A grades at his A-levels and we are delighted he is pursuing medicine as well as his England duties."

The England star keeps in touch with his old school, especially director of sport and mentor Martin Pepper.

Mr Pepper said: "Everyone's really excited and we're looking forward to seeing one of our pupils on the field if he gets selected.

"Everyone is just hoping that England can win and Mathew has a good game.

"People have got more excited the better England have played and there's now signs that we could win the cup."

The Newcastle Falcons star still speaks with his old coach regularly.

Mr Pepper added: "Mathew has always kept in touch since he left school.

"He's the sort of player who is always trying to improve, so he values people's opinion.

"He's always forthcoming about what's happening in the games."

Pupils armed with banners and flags will watch the game on big screens in the school's common rooms.

The coach has a ticket for the game, but has not yet worked out how he will travel to the French capital or where exactly he will stay.