Kiwis help Japan's rugby-mad town of Kamaishi recover from tsunami

The 2011 tsunami won't be far from the minds of the Japanese this Rugby World Cup, but there are lots of reasons to celebrate - even for survivors. 

A memorial stadium in the small town of Kamaishi has been built on the site of an elementary school destroyed in the tsunami. Two Kiwis have helped the town heal through rugby.

With just 16,000 seats, it's by far the smallest stadium, but it will be the most special this World Cup.

"The ground has given a bit of hope to the town," says Kamaishi head coach Scott Pierce.  "It's given it a future."

The seaside stadium is helping to revive the rugby-mad town of Kamaishi, which was smashed by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami eight years ago.

Among the survivors was former All Black and now Tongan coach Pita Alatini.

"Just seeing the devastation of what the town looked like underwater was my first realisation of what really happened," he says.

Dressed in his Kamaishi Seawaves tracksuit, and with his teammate and former Wallaby Scott Fardy, he helped deliver food packages at local relief centres.

"Between us we kind of made a pact that we would stay on and help as much as we can," Alatini says.

The stadium is now a symbol of what's become a long-standing relationship between rugby and local royalty who haven't forgotten the generosity of the sporting community.

It's a lasting legacy that locals won't miss.

"We've got probably the maddest supporters in the world," Pierce says.

Soon they'll have the attention of the world once again, but this time for a reason Kamaishi and their country can celebrate.

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