Neil has hailed the 2015 Rugby World Cup as an “amazing” tournament, and believes the legacy impact in England will not suffer because of the home nation’s group exit.
Stuart Lancaster’s charges became the first host nation in World Cup history to be knocked out in the first round after defeats to Wales and Australia, with the semi-final line-up composed entirely of Southern Hemisphere teams.
Despite England’s failure, Neil is adamant the feast of rugby on show over the six weeks will have been inspiring for the nation’s youngsters.
He told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was an amazing tournament and it inspired children. When the northern hemisphere teams went out, they will have seen the brilliance of New Zealand and Australia.
"It can only have brought more young children into the game, but this is where the hard work begins.
"We need investment in the grass-roots game so that when young kids go out there and say they want to be a David Pocock or Michael Hooper, there is the coaching there to help them achieve that."