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Premiership Rugby

London comes to a standstill for England squad

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Mayor of London was on hand to cut the giant ribbon strung across the Arch to send the players on their way and later awarded the whole team the freedom of the city.

Some of the players still seemed overwhelmed at the turnout as the two buses, surrounded by security, crawled along the crowded streets as the team waved to the adoring crowd below.

Construction workers hung England flags from the buildings, office employees hung out of their West End offices and supporters clambered on top of bus stops in an effort to gain a higher vantage point as the players held the Webb Ellis Cup aloft.

An emotional Martin Johnson said: "It's been incredible, this is awesome, absolutely mindblowing. We had thousands of fans in Australia, but this is something else."

Oxford Street was more of a circus than usual and the shops were reportedly taking full advantage as some stocked up on England jerseys, while others cut prices on theirs!

Central London came to a standstill as balloons were released and ticker-tape began to fly across the streets. The players began to mimic the fans as they began to snap away with cameras and state-of-the-art camcorders. Jonny Wilkinson smiled sheepishly as he received a growing number of marriage proposals and some of the players seemed to take a particular liking to the champagne that had made it's way onto the bus.

A massive roar greeted the buses as they entered Regent Street and the sidewalks swelled with bodies as 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' was belted out with great gusto but that was nothing compared to the noise that greeted them when the buses turned into Trafalgar Square which was awash with flags and banners.

Drop-kick hero Wilkinson said: "We're overwhelmed. It matters so much to get this support and being on this bus now is one of the greatest moments of my life. It's great to be able to pay back the fans who travelled half way around the world as well as those who stayed at home."

Following the bus tour, the England players travelled to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace before moving on to an afternoon reception with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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