- John brace sinks plucky England
- Sage injury blow
England Deaf 0 Wales Deaf 30
England suffered a second defeat of the season against Wales despite putting in a much-improved performance in this evening’s Deaf International at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton.
England offered more in attack than they had at Cardiff Arms Park in January, when they went down 36-3, but they were unable to reclaim the Broadstreet Cup as Wales proved resilient in defence and dangerous on the break.
England, with new head coach Sean Fletcher in charge for the first time, had plenty of first half possession and Hartpury College centre Cameron Roberts made a favourable impression in his first international.
But England also lost their captain Graham Sage with a shoulder injury early in the game and conceded an early try when Wales wing Gareth John crossed for the score that Celyn Ashton (Treorchy) improved.
Wales spent most of the rest of the first half in defence and were troubled by Roberts’ strong running but their well-organised defence held firm.
England were left to regret failing to turn their pressure into points when Wales launched a rare attack and fly half Richard Lewis (Dunvant) picked his way through for a try.
Ashton added the conversion and then slotted a penalty just before half-time, which left England 17 points adrift at the break.
England again threatened in the second half with a probing hanging kick from Kettering’s Tom Bridgeman, who switched from centre to scrum half when Sage departed, and replacement Guy Lavery.
But when Lavery was penalised for holding on to the ball as England attempted to run out of defence Ashton was able to slot another penalty, which pushed Wales 20 points clear.
England’s chances of reducing the deficit were damaged when prop Peter Altham was sin-binned for taking out a man in the air and Ashton followed up with a third penalty to take Wales further ahead.
Having kept Wales out for so long, England’s defence was breached again right at the death when John nipped in for his second try, which Ashton improved.
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 are working with the RFU to offer Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools to help integrate deaf and hard of hearing players.
15 Max Thorne (Dunstablians)
14 Lee Woollard (Sidcup)
13 Cameron Roberts (Hartpury College)
12 Tom Bridgeman (Kettering)
11 Adam Faulkner (Cheddar)
10 Jack Haddock (Harpenden)
9 Graham Sage (Cleve)
1 Joshua Sprules (Bletchley)
2 Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James)
3 Peter Altham (Preston Grasshoppers)
4 Ryan Arbon (Hitchin)
5 Kris Mannering (Guildford)
6 Barney Reed (Shoreham)
7 Luke Cheyne (Sale)
8 Aaron Beesley (Southsea Nomads)
16 Sam Taylor (Oxford University)
17 Tom Cowdale (unattached)
18 Ollie Evans (Hartpury College)
19 Grant Reynolds (Wolverhampton)
20 Jack Hunt (Northampton Old Scouts)
21 Chris Lovett (Cantabridgians)
22 Guy Lavery (unattached)
23 Liam Rowe (Wootton Bassett)