It was the first shock of the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament. And while most Springboks fans were disgusted with the result, one South African fan had a different reaction to the Japan defeat.
Ron Rutland travelled almost 27,000 miles in order to be on time for the game, only to see South Africa ship a 34-32 defeat to Japan in their first World Cup game. But the 41 year old who began the mammoth cycling expedition two years ago, couldn't help but feel a little humbled by the historic occasion.
I'm looking for +ve's; my great mate, & Paris to Brighton legend, Matt, photobombing the Japanese celebrations is it! pic.twitter.com/MiSt38esks
— Ron Rutland (@RonRutland) September 19, 2015
Speaking to the Telegraph this week, Rutland said:
I realised that I had witnessed a bit of sporting history so it was a privilege to have been there. And when I saw the Japanese fans in tears, I realised how much it meant for them.
A privilege to have witnessed such history on the pitch, and such amazing scenes between Bok and Japanese fans off it; rugby at its finest.
— Ron Rutland (@RonRutland) September 20, 2015
An incredible reaction considering what he had been through to get there but it really does just go to show what an incredible day it was for sport in general.
Japan's last win in a Rugby World Cup match was 24 years ago. Rutland, a former banker, admitted that witnessing his side lose to them was an unbelievable sight.
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. I was absolutely gob-smacked. To be such a big fan and come all this way to see that was just surreal.
Despite the surprise opening round defeat, Rutland is still hopeful that South Africa will still be in contention for World Cup success at the end of the tournament.