Rugby Canada helping with recovery efforts in small-town Kamaishi, Japan. (Twitter/Rugby World Cup JP)

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Rugby Canada may have not taken home the trophy, but the team earned gold in the hearts of many Japanese locals.

Team Canada were about to face Namibia in their final game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but severe weather caused by Typhoon Hagibis devastated the host town of Kamaishi, Japan. Rugby officials had no other choice than to cancel the match.

RELATED: Rescue efforts underway after typhoon rains flood Japan

“The team was obviously very, very disappointed about the cancellation of their final game, but after some time to process it we turned our focus to what we could do for the community,” says Gareth Rees, director of commercial and program relations for Rugby Canada.

Team Canada players decided to spend the rest of their fleeting time abroad helping the recovery efforts in Japan.

Typhoon Hagabis, meaning ‘speed’ in the Filipino language Tagalog, is being recognized as one of the strongest storms to hit the country in years. The death toll from Hagabis is at 72, according to recent numbers.

“Any small bit we could do to help the people affected by the typhoon, it is an amazing community up there and we thank them for their hospitality,” says Gordon McRorie, a scrum half from Calgary.

“We were obviously gutted about the decision to cancel our Namibia game but we wanted to give back in a little way to the people of Kamaishi who had given so much to us.”

READ MORE: Tough rugby world cup for Canada

Videos published to social media captured the devastation the typhoon caused, with washed-out highways, canceled flights, and evacuees in the hundreds of thousands leaving city centres for safety.

In many parts of small-town Kamaishi in the north-eastern part of the country, mud and debris damaged residential homes and storefronts.

“It was a landslide evacuated community, so we went in and helped shovel out some of the roads so cars could get in,” says Andrew Coe, a winger and full back from Markham, Ontario. “We went into some houses that weren’t properly protected, so they got pretty torn up in the typhoon.”

Now, Rugby Canada is back on home soil and its members will return to their local rugby clubs.

“I’m really proud to have been a part of the efforts,” says Rees.

“It revealed the true values of our game and this Canadian team to go beyond rugby and give back in whatever small way they could to a community and a country that gave so much to us.”

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

12-year-old Kelowna resident celebrates birthday with help of community

The community greeted Kate Pauling with ballons, banners and gifts along her paper route on Friday

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Lake Country Food Bank welcomes wheelbarrow load of donations

Rotary Club presents symbolic cheque for the $24,600 raised since August 2018

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

COVID-19: North Okanagan spring leagues wiped out

Ladies softball, indoor and beach volleyball leagues shut down over pandemic

COVID-19: Interior Crisis Line calls increase

Calls directly related to pandemic up 25 per cent over final two weeks of March

Most Read