Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby

New Zealand's media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won't miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes.

New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes.

New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform residents fleeing from Typhoon Hagibis that they won’t be missing any rugby this coming Saturday.

As Japan braces for the powerful superstorm, there’s been little positive to take from its ominous approach, and many residents along vulnerable areas of Japan’s eastern coastline have been left packing up their lives and running from the storm as it threatens their homes.

But the worst news to come out of Hagibis, that it would result in the cancellation of this weekend’s crucial tournament-defining clash between the All Blacks and Italy, has actually come with a welcome silver lining.

TVNZ reporter Kimberlee Downs said she was initially “gutted” she wouldn’t get to cover the game, but began to cheer up when she considered a great piece of news she could now deliver to those most affected by the typhoon.

“There are some people south of us here in Nagoya who live very close to the water, who are being told they have to pack up and leave,” she said. “So myself and a couple of the other reporters stationed here thought we’d go down to these areas and spread some good cheer in a trying time.”

Downs said she encountered several nervous families fleeing inland with their belongings, unsure where they would stay in the coming days, and it was the “best feeling in the world” to let them know that it was going to be okay, that the All Blacks game had been cancelled and they wouldn’t miss any of it.

“I’ll never forget this one woman, you could see the fear in her, and I yelled out to her, I yelled out the good news, and she turned to me, wide-eyed, and said ‘What is All Black?'”

Meanwhile, another TVNZ reporter, Dewi Preece, brought the news to people on the streets of Tokyo.

“People I told had all kinds of reactions,” he said, though he wasn’t sure what they were, as he couldn’t afford a translator.

Unfortunately, the game’s cancellation hasn’t been welcomed by everyone. Kiwi expat Peter Towns, who lives in a threatened area near Hamamatsu, has refused to leave his house because he wanted to watch the game, and is disappointed that he’s now going to die for nothing.

Back home, Spark Sport is reassuring New Zealanders that the cancellation is unlikely to make any difference to their enjoyment of the game, as they probably wouldn’t have been able to watch it anyway.