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Duo cycles 20,000 km to bring official whistle for Rugby World Cup opening match

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Ron Rutland, left, and James Owens arrive Thursday at the Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal to deliver an official whistle for the Rugby World Cup’s opening match.

The Yomiuri ShimbunAn official whistle for the Rugby World Cup, which the chief referee will use during the opening match on Sept. 20, arrived Thursday at the Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal from Shanghai.

Ron Rutland, 45, and James Owens, 28, departed with the whistle by bicycle from London’s Twickenham Stadium, where the final match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup was held. Rutland is from South Africa and Owens from Hong Kong — both have played rugby.

They departed from the stadium in February and traversed about 20,000 kilometers over the Eurasian continent in the course of seven months.

Rutland got off a ferry in Osaka and took the golden-colored whistle out of a bag attached to his bicycle, saying he was very happy to have delivered the whistle safely to Japan.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    This whistle will be used at the Rugby World Cup’s opening match, in which Japan is to play Russia, on Sept. 20 in Tokyo.

On the whistle is text stating its official status and noting that Japan plays Russia in the opening match. Rutland and Owens said they watched over the bag carefully so it woouldn’t be stolen during their trip.

They will carry the whistle to Tokyo Stadium, where the opening match will be held, and hand it over to the chief referee at a ceremony on Sept. 19.Speech

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