Prince Harry spent time with the England Rugby team in Manchester earlier this week.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry

The 32-year-old royal - who is an avid fan of the ball sport and is patron of the Rugby Football Union - met with the squad taking part in the England Elite Performance and was on hand to offer his support and give them all a confident boost as they prepare for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Rugby Football League Rugby Director, Kevin Sinfield, said: "It was an honour to have Prince Harry as our guest at the final Elite Performance Squad meeting this afternoon.

"I know he met a few of the players at a Sky Try festival event a couple of months ago but I'm pleased for the rest of the squad that they got the chance to spend time with our patron and see how passionate he is about our sport and the national team.

"It's moments like these that give you that extra boost before a major tournament and shows the support that is there for the squad as we aim for World Cup success."

Rugby is both very close to Harry's heart and a reminder of dark times, as he previously opened up about people seeing him as someone to "smash up" on the rugby field at school.

Speaking for a documentary called 'Beyond The Tryline, he said he had violent experiences playing the ball game as a youngster and other kids would specifically target him.

He admitted: "People would see me on the rugby field as an opportunity to smash me up and actually there was people in my own school during inter-house rugby competitions that would be me up, not beat me up but would put in bigger tackles because it was me. But certainly in school inter-house is where I got injured the most."

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