On 19 August we saw an important milestone reached for the city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture - the opening of the Unosumai Memorial Stadium. ANZCCJ has been a long term partner and supporter of the Kamaishi community and the Tohoku region. It was an honour to witness the opening match at the newly constructed stadium between the local Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club and Top League side Yamaha Jubilo. The inaugural event was enjoyed by a crowd of 6,000 people, reaching the stadium's current capacity. Kamaishi has a long and proud history of rugby, with the previous local team, Nippon Steel having won seven consecutive national championships between 1979 and 1985.
The two teams have a strong bond with the Yamaha Jubilo being the first team to visit Kamaishi just three months after it was hit by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Although the result did not go the way of the home town Seawaves (29-24), there was an overwhelming sense of pride and hope on display from the supporters and community of Kamaishi. Unosumai Stadium will play host to two matches for the RWC19, and is the only newly-built facility out of the 12 RWC19 venues.