'You guys have got the rugby spirit better than anyone': Canada rugby players praised for joining clean-up efforts after World Cup clash with Namibia ......
ONABEKUN ISIAQ ADEKUNLE
Oct. 13, 2019
Canada rugby players have rolled up their sleeves and helped with recovery efforts after treacherous conditions in Japan caused landslides and flooding to cancel their match against Namibia.
The Rugby World Cup match in Kamaishi was called off after Super Typhoon Hagibis saw torrential rain and tornado-like winds hit large parts of Japan, with the damage caused having impact upon fans and players alike.
At least 18 people have died, and Japan has deployed tens of thousands of troops and rescue workers in order to quickly deal with the situation.
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With the Pool B match cancelled, Canada's players instead joined in with recovery efforts around the stadium.
Footage soon circulated online of the players pitching in, as the devastation caused by the typhoon became apparent.
Sporting their team training kit, the Canada players took to the streets to join locals in moving debris from streets and restoring order after the brutal weather conditions.
Spades were used to bring up large swathes of mud which had been carried down the streets, before placing the mess into bags for removal.
As the footage was shared online, scores of replies came in thanking the team for their efforts. Many Japanese citizens also expressed an appreciation for the respect shown.
Former England international turned commentator Ben Kay said: 'This is fantastic @RugbyCanada - I think you guys have always got the rugby spirit better than anyone.'
'In times like this there are an awful lot more important things than rugby, and when we got here we saw people's houses absolutely destroyed, water (rising) up the walls,' Canada flyhalf Peter Nelson said.
'We're just trying our very small part to help them in any way we can.'
Lock Josh Larsen added: 'We felt for the people of Kamaishi. (We're) happy to help.'
The kind gesture draws parallels with how the Japanese football team conducted themselves at the the 2018 Russia World Cup.
Following each of their matches, the Japan side made a point of cleaning the dressing room spotless , while supporters who had attended the matches respectfully stayed behind at the end to clear litter away from the stands.
After the announcement was made that the match was to be cancelled, Team Canada wrote on Twitter: 'We respect the decision made by the Rugby World Cup, but are disappointed to miss out on this opportunity to compete. Thanks to all for your support throughout our #RWC2019 campaign & wish all visitors and residents safety during Typhoon Hagibis.
'We have welcomed the opportunity to compete against some of the world's best rugby nations, and will benefit from this valuable experience as we continue to put in the work necessary to build a better future for rugby in Canada.'
Meanwhile, Scotland's World Cup fate was cleared to be decided on the pitch after their win-or-bust showdown with Japan was given the go-ahead following a stadium inspection.
Fans have been told to temper their expectations as the match will have less staff due to the storm.