Canada’s rugby team was hoping to win its final Rugby World Cup match against Namibia in Japan’s Kamaishi town when Typhoon Hagibis ravaged their dream. The match was cancelled due to the impact of the typhoon, the worst to hit the country in decades.
However, Canadian players decided to make the most of what they had got. They knew Kamaishi was largely destroyed when an earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan in 2011 and how community efforts had helped it get back in shape. They decided to go out and help local people with the clean-up.
“We heard stories about what happened here eight years ago, and to be here for another natural disaster, we felt that we had to come out,” said full-back Andrew Coe. “It is the least we could do.”
About 15 players and officials picked up shovels, removed mud from driveways, cleaned up a flooded house and filled sandbags with mud and carried them away with ease.
Residents of Kamaishi were impressed by the players’ physical strength and speed. “They have so much physical power compared to us,” said Hironori Miura, 40, a local resident. “They’ve just been here for a short time, but their speed is impressive. I have no words. I feel sorry they couldn’t play today, but they’re a huge help.”
Following the cancellation of their match in Kamaishi, @RugbyCanada players headed out to help with recovery efforts, showing the true values of the game.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 13, 2019
“I think they would’ve done the same thing if they were in Canada, so it’s something we probably felt that we can help and we’ve got a day off and no game,” captain Tyler Ardron said.
“When a typhoon strikes, and tragedy strikes, it takes a community to help out and rebuild, and we’re part of that community,” Coe said. “I should apply for citizenship because I feel like I’m part Japanese.”