- Sevenoaks flanker Ian Collins withdraws due to back injury
- Thatcham's Richard Browne promoted from bench
England Deaf have been forced to reshuffle their pack for their international against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday, January 26 (kick-off 1.30pm).
Sevenoaks flanker Ian Collins has withdrawn from the match because of a back injury so Richard Browne of Thatcham has been promoted from the bench to replace him.
Browne will play in the second row with Grant Reynolds switching to the back row. Richard Austin of Old Brentwoods has been called into the squad as a replacement in Browne’s place.
England will be captained by Cleve scrum-half Graham Sage with tighthead prop Peter Altham as his vice-captain.
This will be England Deaf’s first match since they beat Wales at Fylde two years ago and the first time that they have played on a 4G rubber crumb pitch.
The England Deaf Rugby Union was formed in 2003 to provide opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing rugby players to play for their country.
Players are eligible to play for England Deaf and the England Deaf Rugby Union for Women if they have a combined 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 but with normal hearing in the other.
Not all of the players wear hearing aids or only communicate by sign language and this has never stopped all the players communicating and playing rugby as a squad.
EDRU offers Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools to help integrate deaf and hard of hearing players.
England Deaf squad to face Wales
15 Max Thorne (Dunstablians), 14 Lee Woollard (Sidcup), 13 Jack Haddock (Harpenden), 12 Tom Bridgeman (Kettering), 11 Adam Faulkner (Cheddar), 10 Sam Scadeng (Sutton Coldfield), 9 Graham Sage (Cleve); 1 Joshua Sprules (Bletchley), 2 Oliver Evans (Hartpury College), 3 Peter Altham (Preston Grasshoppers), 4 Ryan Arbon (Hitchin), 5 Richard Browne (Thatcham), 6 Luke Cheyne (Sale FC), 7 Grant Reynolds (Wolverhampton), 8 Barney Reed (Shoreham).
Replacements: Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James), Sam Taylor (Oxford University), Paul Cooper (Romford & Gidea Park), Nick Todd (Aylesbury), Richard Austin (Old Brentwoods), Jack Hunt (Northampton Old Scouts), Aaron Beesley (Southsea Nomads), Liam Rowe (Swindon)