- Wales regain Broadstreet Cup after victory over England Deaf
- Final score of 36-3 at Cardiff Arms Park
Wales Deaf 36 England Deaf 3
England were outgunned by a more experienced Wales side in a competitive Deaf International at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday (January 26).
Wales regained the Broadstreet Cup, following their defeat at Fylde two years ago, with full back Wes Pooley, who plays his club rugby for Taunton, scoring four of their five tries.
England fielded a new-look side with 11 new caps in their squad and although they competed well for an hour they were made to pay for failing to turn pressure into points in the first half.
“Wales are a good side and they have got some good players as we saw. We put out a young side, we are inexperienced and it showed for sure,” said Tony Stoyles, England’s director of rugby.
“When it got to 60 minutes it was clear that it was going to go to Wales. But it’s given us a platform again to build on and we have got our work cut out to get that right.
“It was a brave attempt by the lads. The fitness didn’t quite come through but this only the second time the group has ben together this season and it’s clear that we need a lot more sessions together.
“We have some very good individual players, it’s just a matter of putting it together.
“There are some very disappointed heads in the changing room but they have got to realise that this is what we build from. It’s onwards and upwards.
“For us as a coaching staff it’s a platform to start again. It’s a good way to go forward and hopefully attract more players to join us and make sure that deaf rugby is on the map.”
England were at their best in the first half when they were aggressive in defence and threatened in attack. Captain Graham Sage had the first chance to score but his third-minute penalty attempt fell short.
The Arms Park’s rubber crumb pitch stood up well after heavy rain fell throughout the morning and Pooley appreciated the surface as he cut back inside for the opening try, which centre Celyn Ashton of Treorchy converted.
Sage pulled back three points with a penalty midway through the first half and England’s excellent defence held firm until first half injury time when Wales worked Pooley over in the corner and Ashton again converted.
A close range try from Wales tighthead David Wellbeloved, who also plays his club rugby in England for Withycombe, seven minutes after the break stretched the lead and Wales pulled clear in the final quarter.
Ashton banged over a long range penalty and Pooley’s dangerous running brought him two more tries in the last ten minutes, both of which Ashton improved.
England hope to arrange a return fixture against Wales, probably against the Army Stadim in Aldershot in March.
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: 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 used: Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James) for Evans 58, Sam Taylor (Oxford University) for Browne 72, Paul Cooper (Romford & Gidea Park), Nick Todd (Aylesbury) for Sprules 50, Richard Austin (Old Brentwoods), Jack Hunt (Northampton Old Scouts) for Reynolds 68, Aaron Beesley (Southsea Nomads) for Scadeng 50, Liam Rowe (Swindon) for Thorne 72.