- Wales retain Broadstreet Cup
- Deaf World Cup in planning
England Deaf director of rugby, Tony Stoyles, was left scratching his head in puzzlement after Wales retained the Broadstreet Cup in Saturday's (May 10) Deaf International at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton.
England appeared stronger in attack under new head coach Sean Fletcher but failed to breach the Wales line and followed their 36-3 reverse at Cardiff Arms Park in January with another defeat.
England did manage to restrict Wales to just three tries this time but their failure to turn first-half pressure into points was a concern for former Northampton prop Stoyles.
“I don’t quite know what went wrong. We certainly had good possession in the first half and didn’t turn it into points. There were opportunities but we just didn’t finish them off,” Stoyles said.
“Aaron Beesley did well in phases, Cameron Roberts did well in phases but we didn’t click as a team.
“When you look at the Welsh team they have got some players who have played together at the same club. That helps, I would imagine.
“It’s disappointing. I’m sure the lads are very disappointed, there was a big build-up to this match but they just didn’t switch it on.”
Staging the Deaf International after Northampton Saints had trounced London Wasps in the Aviva Premiership gave the England players a rare opportunity to play at a Premiership ground and it was one that they appreciated.
“Some of those players will never have this experience. It’s been great for them and hopefully we will get more chances to appear at Premiership grounds,” Stoyles said.
England are expected to face Wales home and away next season and Stoyles is working on other new international fixtures against Italy and South Africa.
Wales are also organising a Deaf World Cup, which has been provisionally scheduled for August 2015, ahead of the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.
“We have got some promising fixtures next season and the Welsh are intending to have a World Cup next year so it’s a big build-up to that,” Stoyles said.
“The aim is for it to be hosted in Wales during August 2015. We are still waiting for the confirmed details of that, but that’s very exciting.”
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.