- Leicester Lions centre Matthew Cook one of five new caps to face Wales
- Midlands best represented region with seven players in the England squad
Leicester Lions centre Matthew Cook is one of five news caps named in the England Deaf starting XV for their international against Wales at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Sunday February 14 (1pm).
Cook joins Wharfedale hooker Peter Altham, Sidcup scrum-half Lee Woollard and West Park St Helens pair Craig Orrick and Martin Ryan as the newcomers in the England side.
Cook is one of four Midlands-based players in the England side joining experienced Luton lock Dan McAllister, Old Leamingtonians flanker Bob Turner and Newport winger Adam Faulkner, a current member of the North Midlands Under-20s squad.
There are three more Midlanders on the bench in Len Fincham of South Leicester, Brett Pruce of Aylestone St James and Tom Cowdale of Wolverhampton, all of whom have played for England before.
England will be attempting to win the Broadstreet Cup for the first time, a trophy that was inaugurated for the corresponding fixture at the same venue two years ago when Wales ran out 66-7 winners.
The English Deaf Rugby Union was formed in 2003 to give deaf and hard of hearing rugby players the chance to represent their country.
Players are qualified to play for the England Deaf team if they have a combined average hearing loss of 25db or more in both ears. This roughly translates to a minimum hearing loss in both ears or a moderate hearing loss in one ear. Not all the players wear hearing aids or only communicate by sign language.
EDRU can offer Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools, help to integrate deaf and hard of hearing players to clubs and liaise with club members to ensure that players are managed correctly.
England Deaf team to play Wales at Broadstreet RFC on February 14 (1pm):
15 Guy Lavery (Barnes); 14 Martin Ryan (West Park St Helens), 13 Matthew Cook (Leicester Lions), 12 Craig Orrick (West Park St Helens), 11 Adam Faulkner (Newport); 10 Mark Lewis (Brighton), 9 Lee Woollard (Sidcup); 1 Nick Todd (Bucks University and Petersfield), 2 Peter Althams (Wharfedale), 3 Tim Aldridge (Twickenham), 4 Kris Mannering (Richmond), 5 Dan McAllister (Luton), 6 Ian Collins (Sevenoaks), 7 Bob Turner (Old Leamingtonians), 8 Bothma Truter (Old Whitgiftian). Replacements: Robert Hill (Chinnor), Len Fincham (South Leicester), Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James), Tom Cowdale (Wolverhampton), Peter Small (Old Whitgiftian), Rhys Stickings (Thanet Wanderers), Leigh Bialik (Haywards Heath).