Experts have warned that an early exit by England from the Rugby World Cup will cost the host nation tens of millions of pounds.
The dramatic narrow loss to Warren Gatland's Welshmen at Twickenham on Sunday morning has cast a pall over English sport's landscape and the doom and gloom intensified today when economic experts predicted that unless Stuart Lancaster's team can beat Australia this weekend and keep their tournament hopes alive, the Cup's financial impact on the United Kingdom will also take a hit.
Tens of millions of pounds will be lost in pubs, shops and even on the stock market, the experts warned.
While the 28-25 defeat hurt England's sporting reputation, exiting the Cup before the quarter final stages will inflict more pain as it would also spell disaster for the pubs, shops and broadcasters that were relying on a competitive English side going all the way to the final next month.
London's Daily Telegraph reported that host British broadcaster ITV alone could lose up to $NZ2.2 million per match in advertising revenues if England are not involved.
Phil Hall, the head of trading and investment at MediaCom, the UK's biggest media buying agency, predicted viewing audiences could plummet if England go out and that would mean fees for advert slots during games could fall by up to 40 per cent.
He said: "They want England to be in it for a long time, for there to be a lot of mainstream coverage and for people to tune in. It could be a disaster for ITV."
Pub and retail sales were also likely to suffer because neutral rugby fans are more likely to lose interest if England is gone.
Neil Williams, a spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association, told the Telegraph: "The better England does the better it would be for pubs."
The Telegraph also warned that hundreds of millions of pounds, if not billions, could also be wiped off the stock market if England are knocked out.
Research by Professor Alex Edmans, of the Business School, found defeat in major sporting tournaments can have a direct impact on the markets the following day with depressed traders not performing at their best.
Although, football had a far greater impact, the study found that losses in major rugby tournaments could see markets drop by 0.15 per cent in that nation the next day.
A financial impact assessment for the organiser of this year's tournament found that economies in previous host nations benefited by up to $NZ900 million from the tournaments.
But in the last three competitions, including in New Zealand four years ago, the host team reached either the semi-final, final or won it.
A spokeswoman for organiser England 2015 tried to play down the impact, saying: "This is a record breaking tournament in terms of tickets sold, and our venues have been packed up and down the country supporting all 20 competing nations. Whatever permutations the group stage offers, we have sold nearly all the tickets for the knock out stages."