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Rugby World Cup: South Africa fan Ron Rutland rides 26000 miles in two years … – Telegraph.co.uk

“I was not expecting that. It was the biggest upset in rugby history and it felt like I was watching a movie, I just could not believe it what I had just witnessed,” he said.

“I was absolutely gob-smacked. To be such a big fan and come all this way to see that was just surreal.”

• Fixtures schedule: find out when and where all the matches are taking place

But the fan was philosophical about the result and believes the Springboks cannot be ruled out just yet.

“I realised that I had witness a bit of sporting history so it was a privilege to have been there, he said.

“And when I saw the Japanese fans in tears, I realised how much it meant for them.

He said he hoped he would still wake up in November with his team having won the World Cup and “looking back at today with a wry grin”.

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Ron, a former trader who now organises rugby tournaments, embarked on his mammoth cycle ride after years of promising himself he would do something adventurous.

It initially began as a plan to cycle around Africa but when he worked out how long it would take, he realised he could coincide it with travelling across Europe in time for the World Cup.

The 43,000 km (26,700 mile) journey took in all but four countries in mainland Africa and several across Europe.

He has been raising money for the Laureus Foundation, which uses sport to help the needy, and named his adventure after friend Nix “Lettie” Haynes, who was diagnosed with cancer before he left and lost her battle half way through his journey.

He had been backed by a host of sporting greats, including former South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar.

“It has been an amazing experience,”he said. “And despite the defeat it was incredible to watch the reaction.

“South African fans can, if I’m honest, be a little bit arrogant but they were applauding Japanese supporters in restaurants and in the street after the game.”

And if ride across two continents was not enough, Ron now plans to cycle to each of the remaining South African matches.

“I think I will fly home though,” he said.

Rugby World Cup: South Africa fan Ron Rutland rides 26000 miles in two years … – Telegraph.co.uk

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