September 24, 2019
The devastating tsunami of 2011 laid waste to Kamaishi but the community bounced back and the Rugby World Cup is their way of giving back to the world for its supportKamaishi is a steel town. The first things you see when you arrive here are the large corrugated warehouses of the Nippon Steel factory, the smoke rising from the blast furnaces and, beyond them, a spaghetti mess of pipelines and conveyor belts, roads and bridges across the river that runs down to the port where the tugboats and tankers moor. At the end of it all is the great new blue sea wall, and beyond that, the sparkling ocean. Fifty years ago, around 75,000 people lived here; then Nippon Steel scaled back production, and now there are only 35,000. Even before the tsunami, the place was in a slump.
Scott Fardy on rugby in tsunami-hit Kamaishi: ‘It was like the end of days’ | Andy Bull
So was Scott Fardy when he first came here. Years later, Fardy would become a star of the 2015 Wallabies team that made it to the World Cup final. But this was in 2009. He was 24, and he had just been let go by the Western Force without playing a single game for them all season. He couldn’t get a job in Super Rugby. “My manager told me there was one club left, right up in the north of Japan,” he says. They were called the Kamaishi Seawaves, and they were playing in the second division of Japan’s eastern conference. “What do you think?” Fardy signed up for 12 months.
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