Intrepid cyclists Ron Rutland and James Owens yesterday delivered the whistle to be used in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup after traveling more than 20,000km in 231 days from London.
The pair, who began their trip at Twickenham Stadium in February, handed the whistle to Welsh referee Nigel Owens, who is to be taking charge of today’s clash between hosts Japan and Russia.
The journey, which spanned 27 countries, aimed to raise awareness and money for charity ChildFund, which is working in partnership with World Rugby, which aims to empower underprivileged children across Asia through the game.
They delivered the whistle safe and sound to Nigel Owens in Tokyo Stadium, which is to host the opening match.
“It is amazing to be here, this is incredibly surreal,” said James Owens, who is unrelated to the referee. “We have been on a hell of a journey since leaving London six months ago.”
“It has been more of just a journey with Ron and I. We have had this incredible support network all trip. Thank you to everyone who has bought into our journey and tracked this whistle. It has had a fair few adventures,” he said.
The duo are to stay in Japan for the next six weeks to enjoy the World Cup.
“These guys have made it a very tough act to follow actually,” tournament director Alan Gilpin said jokingly. “The next six weeks will have to go some way to matching the epic journey these guys have been on.”
Nigel Owens was also the referee for the final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of
When Atalanta BC coach Gian Piero Gasperini was struggling with COVID-19 in the middle of March, the prospect of entering Bergamo’s hospital — which was overflowing with coronavirus patients at the time — made him fear for his life. “Every two minutes an ambulance passed by. It seemed like a war,” Gasperini said. “At night, I would think: ‘If go in there [the hospital], what will happen to me?’” Fortunately for Gasperini, he quickly recovered and did not have to check into Pope John XXIII hospital. The coach only recently confirmed that he had the coronavirus when the entire team was tested 10
The losing captain thanked the winning team’s players for their personal sacrifices leading into the match and a charter flight pilot received a big round of applause when his plane beat incoming fog to touch down after midnight following another game as feel-good stories off the field matched those on it as the National Rugby League (NRL) restarted its season in Australia over the weekend. The New Zealand Warriors’ 18-0 win over St George Illawarra was the Auckland-based team’s first of the season after three rounds and it could not have come at a better time. Due to international travel restrictions
“Road Runner” Alphonso Davies lived up to his nickname with another lightning sprint on Saturday as Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga. Having defeated second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 away in midweek, Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 romp over Fortuna Duesseldorf. Defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own-goal before Benjamin Pavard, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Davies scored for Bayern. With five games remaining, the defending champions, who have won their past eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title. Davies scored the best goal of the game when the fleet-footed defender pressed Duesseldorf into making a mistake, barged