Rugby World Cup: South African cycling duo kicking off opening match day at Eden Park, after journey across globe for charity

The race to the Rugby World Cup is quite literally on for two South African cyclists.

They've biked through 11 different countries to get to New Zealand, raising money for charity on the way, and the tournament can't actually start without them.

Ron Rutland and Adam Nunn are two best mates cycling the world together.

"We're closer than most married couples," Rutland said.

They've arrived in New Zealand, after setting off from Tokyo in March, travelling through most of Asia, Australia and Fiji to get here.

"Everything we own is on our bicycle," Rutland said. "Tents, sleeping bags, a few spare parts… every single day we see new things, eat different food."

It is a 16,500 km journey, raising money along the way for a good cause.

"The ChildFund Rugby is a sports for development programme," Rutland said. "It uses the sport of rugby to teach life skills to young people, they become leaders in their community, they learn confidence… I get goosebumps talking about it." 

Raising over $100,000, whilst looking after precious cargo - the commemorative match whistle, kicking off the Rugby World Cup tomorrow.

"No, we look after it with our life," Rutland said after being asked if there were any mishaps. "We keep it next to our passports.

"As two South Africans, we're fortunate that the opening game on October 8 is France v South Africa."

Watch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join us on Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v Australia World Cup opener.