Canada try their hand at origami at JWC 2009
By Andrew Smith
Canada's Under 20 team enjoyed a day off from training to visit the Seinan Gakuin Junior High School for an origami tutorial before attending a baseball match to watch local side Softbank Hawks at the Yahoo Dome.
A number of team members visited the English Speaking Society (ESS) at the local school where the squad was received with open arms and, after being welcomed from Wasano Kengo, the school’s President, the team was addressed by Iwama Toru, the Faculty Supervisor of Seinan Gakuin Rugby Club.
“Our university rugby team has 80 years of proud history,” Toru went on to explain. “We are very happy and at the same time very proud to have the Canadian team visit our institute.”
Canada assistant coach Ian Hyde-Lay then addressed the classroom and thanked the school and society for their hospitality.
“We’re enjoying our stay in your beautiful country and trying to learn as much as we can about it,” Hyde-Lay told the class.
The players were then run through an origami session which provided quite a spectacle for the local media as the team members struggled to create the elegant paper cranes.
Rugby or origami?
Canadian hooker Evan Mallory felt the pressure as the cameras swarmed around him. “What’s harder – rugby or origami?” he asked - but the expression on his face said it all.
As the players were run through the steps, Hyde-Lay wowed his instructors as he produced a number of animals ,including paper cranes and elephants. He then went on to instruct a trivia session, testing geographical and historical knowledge of both Japan and Canada.
The visit ended with members of the ESS presenting the team with 'Senbazuru' - one thousand paper cranes. The gift, the players were told, had a symbolic meaning of wishing victory in sports as well as wishing peace.
Canada's players then presented the class with posters of the Under 20 squad as well as a number of team memorabilia. After the classroom visit they attended a baseball match between local side Softbank Hawks and the Tokyo Yukuit Swallows.
It was a well deserved day off for the squad, who now turn their attention to their final Pool D match with Tonga at the Best Amenity Stadium in Saga on Saturday - a must-win match for both sides to ensure a top 12 finish and a place in next year's Junior World Championship in Argentina.
** Watch the climax of Pool C in Osaka live and on-demand for free on Saturday 13 June. First up will be Italy's encounter with Fiji at 13:00 local time, followed by South Africa's battle with France at 19:00 to determine who will travel to Tokyo to contest the semi finals. **
** You can also watch on-demand the Pool B matches (England v Japan and Samoa v Scotland) on 5 June, the Pool A matches (Uruguay v Argentina and Ireland v New Zealand) on 9 June, along with highlights of both matchdays. **