Cape Town - The Springboks might have lost their opening Rugby World Cup game, but one of the great All Blacks is still expecting to see South Africa play in the final against New Zealand. 

"I still think the Springboks are a strong team, and I still expect them to be there in the final," says 1987 World Cup winner Sir John Kirwan, appearing on this week's special edition of The Dan Nicholl Show from Tokyo.

"Against us they had a few bad minutes, made a couple of mistakes, and didn't kick too well, and that cost them the game."

Kirwan also celebrates the tournament coming to a country he knows well from his playing and coaching days.

"It's so important see the game here, and to see rugby expanding. On and off the field, this is going to be a great World Cup to be part of."

That sentiment is echoed by former Japan international Shotaro Onishi, also a guest this week.

"It is very important for the Rugby World Cup to come to Japan, and to make the game bigger here. I'm very excited as a former player."

The third rugby star on the show this week is former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, who recounts his adventures so far in Japan.

"I've done some karaoke, been go-karting through the streets, done some sumo wrestling - Japan has been great fun!"

And De Villiers shares the sentiments of Kirwan regarding the Springboks.

"It wasn't our best game, but Rassie will look very hard at where we went wrong, and we're still definitely good enough to go on to the final."

The two biggest stars of this week's show, however, aren't rugby players: cycling adventurers Ron Rutland and James Owens complete this week's line-up, having arrived in Tokyo after cycling from London, a trip of over 20 000 kilometres across Europe and Asia. 

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet - I'm just trying to enjoy the moment," concedes Rutland. "It's been an extraordinary journey, and seeing places like Iran, which I'd always wanted to visit, has been unforgettable."

“I'm also trying to make sense of it all - it's been a life-changing journey," agrees Owens, who admits to some tough times on the epic Race To Rugby World Cup.

"That first day out of London almost broke me, and there were a few times I didn't think I'd make it. But it's been amazing, and to support ChildFund Pass It Back has made it even more special."

More details on the Race To Rugby World Cup, Kirwan’s work in the mental health space, Onishi’s guide to Japan and De Villiers’s World Cup experience all play out on this week’s episode.

Catch the premiere of The Dan Nicholl Show, presented by BrightRock, at 19:00 on Wednesday on SuperSport 8, on location at The Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo.

The Dan Nicholl Show is also available on Showmax, Catch-up and DSTV Now.

Watch a preview of this week’s show here: