January 31st, 2008
Five South West players have been included in the 22-man England Deaf rugby team for the opening international of the season against Wales at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Sunday February 3 (1pm).
Chinnor centre Matt Woodward, Paignton hooker Matt Vandenbrouck and Hartpury College No. 8 Matt Gilbert have all been named in the starting line-up while Chinnor's Tony Wilkinson and Burnham-on-Sea's Nick McKen will start the game on the bench.
The Wales game is the first of two deaf internationals that will be played at Broadstreet this season. England will also play Scotland at the Binley Woods ground on March 9.
Tickets for these internationals cost only �5.00 for adults and �2.50 for concessions.
The squad is drawn from club registered English players from across the country who have a hearing impairment the equivalent of being fully deaf in one ear. Many of the players have a profound hearing impairment and communicate by sign language, though it does not stop them playing rugby as an effective squad.
England Deaf Rugby Union is an Associate Member of the RFU, and their programme is supported by the Community Rugby Department.
This season the BBC are filming the Union's activities profiling several of the players for an upcoming documentary.
England Deaf, v Wales Deaf, Broadstreet RFC, Sunday February 3 (1pm):
15 Charlie James (New Brighton)
14 Gavin Jackson (Selby)
13 Guy Lavery (Tunbridge Wells)
12 Matt Woodward (Chinnor)
11 Alex Astbury (Twickenham)
10 Mark Lewis (East Grinstead, capt)
9 Adam Smallwood (Bridgnorth, vice-capt)
1 Robert Hill (Folkestone)
2 Matt Vandenbrouck (Paignton, pack leader)
3 Nick Todd (Petersfield)
4 Kris Mannering (Guildford)
5 Andrew Jones (Stamford)
6 Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James)
7 Ian Collins (Sevenoaks)
8 Matt Gilbert (Hartpury College).
16 Tom Cowdale (Wolverhampton)
17 Tony Wilkinson (Chinnor)
18 Dan McAllister (Luton)
19 Nick McKen (Burnham-on-Sea)
20 Brett Hanratty (Ryton)
21 Tim Quigley (Northampton Mens Own)
22 Mark Todd (Andover).