There are strong bonds between Wales and the people of Kitakyushu

In a touching video, Japanese schoolchildren send support to Wales as everyone deals with life in the shadow of Covid-19 and associated restrictions.

Last year at the Rugby World Cup, Wales made their training base in Kitakyushu. In one open training session there, an incredible 15,000-plus local fans came to watch.

Rhys Williams, WRU Business Development Manager, said at the time: “We hosted an open training session with Wales at Principality Stadium last autumn and we had 12,000 or 13,000 there. We’ve topped that here. It is just remarkable.”

Well now, in these difficult times as different regions of the UK deals with lockdowns and the effects of Covid-19, some schoolchildren in Kitakyushu have sent a message to the people of Wales.

In the clip, the children say: “Hello Wales.

“We are sixth-graders of Kitakyushu Municipal Sayagatani Elementary School.

“We had an invaluable experinece interacting with a Welsh rugby team during the 2019 Rugby world Cup. This experience is a treasure for us.

“By the way, we heard that Wales went into a national lockdown due to Covid-19. Let’s get the victory over Covid-19 together.

“If you guys on the Wales rugby team had the courage to fight, that showed us we are sure we can do it.

“It is our turn to cheer up people in Wales. Please listen.

“Fight, Wales! Fight! Don’t give up! See you soon!”

A heartwarming message.

Rewinding to when Wales trained in Kitakyushu, it is worth noting what then-coach Warren Gatland said at the time: “For the players to see all the flags and posters around town has been quite humbling. It’s brilliant that the city has got behind us. Ironically there are so many similarities between Kitakyushu and Wales in terms of the history of the mining industry and the ports.

“Kitakyushu have embraced Wales, the team, and the culture and they have even put the red dragon on their fire engines. I know they wanted to be a host city for the World Cup. In fairness to the Welsh Rugby Union, particularly Ryan Jones and his team, they’ve been over here on a number of occasions running coaching sessions to form a relationship with the community.

“There is definitely a relationship there and hopefully we can continue to build on that.”

It certainly sounds like you they have.

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