Canadians clean up at Rugby World Cup
CALGARY -- After their final World Cup match against Namibia was cancelled, the Canadian Men’s Rugby Team took to the streets in Kamaishi, Japan this weekend, helping residents clean up after the devastation wrought by Typhoon Hagabis.
“Once it (the game) got cancelled, we had a team meeting and decided we should go and see if we can help out wherever we can,” said former Calgary Hornet Gordon McRorie, who's a Canadian team member.
“It was a pretty humbling experience to see what these people have been through,” he added.
Rugby World Cup lauded the the Canadian team, posting videos on social media of the team scraping mud from the streets and helping residents clear debris left behind by the typhoon.
"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 organizers posted on Twitter, following up with "Amazing scenes and brilliant to see from the team."
The typhoon hit as Japan is in the middle of hosting the Rugby World Cup. The storm resulted in an assortment of delays and cancellations, including Saturday's games between England and France as well as a highly-anticipated match between New Zealand and Italy, which were called off as the typhoon closed in.
The Canadians say assisting Kamaishi residents helped take the sting out of their last game cancellation.
“It definitely put the cancellation of the game in perspective," said McRorie, who plays scrum half for Team Canada. "It was very difficult, everybody wanted the game to go ahead, but to hear the devastation along the road, it was a fairly easy and quick decision for us to get out and help where we could.”
Over 30 people died and close to 200 more were injured in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, which made landfall Saturday night. It carried hurricane-force winds, and caused widespread flooding in areas of coastal Japan.
The Japanese prime minster has said over 27,000 Self-Defense Forces personnel are now on on rescue operations as a result of the typhoon.