KAMAISHI, JAPAN—Canadian rugby players were seen shoveling mud, carrying furniture and helping with recovery efforts in Kamaishi, following the cancellation of their match against Namibia, which was called off due to the threat of Typhoon Hagibis. At least 31 people have died and 186 people have been injured in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, bringing hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and cut power to almost half a million homes across the country, according to local media sources.
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
About 15 Canadian rugby players and officials made the effort under a hot sun for nearly two hours, filling sandbags with mud and carried them away. The now-viral video capturing their helping hands have been viewed nearly a million times.
Hironori Miura, one of the Kamaishi locals who were hoping to showcase their recovery from the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11 told a reporter, “They have so much physical power compared to us. They’ve just been here for a short time, but their speed is impressive. I have no words.” He continued, “I feel sorry they couldn’t play today, but they’re a huge help.”
— ラグビーワールドカップ (@rugbyworldcupjp) October 13, 2019
“People of Kamaishi have obviously gone through so much. For them to host a World Cup game I think means a lot to them, but also a lot to us, because we understand the significance of it,” said Canada hooker Eric Howard, referring to the disaster in 2011 which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the city. “I think we really wanted to put on a special game for everyone. It’s really unfortunate that these things happen because the people of Kamaishi deserve so much more.”
The team captain, Tyler Ardron told Japan Times, “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.”
Scrum half Phil Mack told Global News, “It was pretty emotional, we did a big tour and they showed us the evacuation sites from the tsunami nine years ago, and then to have the opportunity to help out the community was massive for us,” added scrum half Phil Mack.