Canada’s rugby team showed its colours on — and off — the pitch
PHOTOS BY DAVID RAMOS — WORLD RUGBY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Canada didn’t have an easy run to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. They came in as the 20th and final qualifier, after winning a repechage tournament earlier this year, where they competed against Germany, Kenya and Hong Kong.
They were placed in Pool B, with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia. Up against tough teams, they weren’t able to win any of their matches, going down 48–7 against Italy, 63–0 against New Zealand and 66–7 against South Africa. But they had a moment to shine on October 13.
On that day, they were scheduled to play Namibia at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. The stadium is meant to serve as a symbol of the city’s revitalization in the wake of the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011, and the matches played there were meant to help put a spotlight on the Tohoku region. But Mother Nature intervened. Due to the effects of Typhoon Hagibis, which caused widespread damage across Japan and brought transportation around the country to a halt, the match was cancelled.
Instead of just waiting out the aftermath of the storm and eventually making their way back to Tokyo, the Canada rugby team headed out on that Sunday to help support the Kamaishi community by cleaning up mud and debris that had been left after the storm blew through. During their cleanup efforts, they were also given an assist by some members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, who were already in town to watch the planned match. This is really what teamwork — and team spirit — look like.