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Wales and England have met twice before with a victory apiece, England winning 14-11 in Newbury and Wales at Pontyclun with a comfortable win, 27-0. This will be Gareth Thomas' (Bonymaen RFC) home debut. Gareth has previously run out for Wales against Scotland at Glasgow in a 37-12 victory last November.
The match will be officiated by Mr Gary Davies from the WRU and he will be assisted by Mr Leighton James and Mr Gareth Saunders. Wales Deaf Rugby Union would like to welcome all supporters to this exciting clash as a pre-match warm up to the main game at the Millennium Stadium. This promises to be an entertaining clash with the 'Auld Enemy' Admission is £5 (includes programme) and Children under 16 will be admitted free of charge.
15. Mike Watkins (Bedwas RFC)
14. Ben Pritchard (Barry RFC)
13. Gareth Thomas (Bonymaen RFC)
12. Richard Hardy (Pontyberem RFC)
11. Nigel Francis (Pertemps Bees RFC)
10. Mark Withy (Cwmbran RFC)
09. Ioan Jones (Trimsaran RFC)
01. Ceri Davies (Llandovery RFC)
02. James Evans (Capt) (Birchgrove RFC)
03. Andrew Lloyd (Ynysybwl RFC)
04. Richard Watkins (St Julians RFC)
05. Andrew Rees (Haywards Heath RFC)
06. Luke Blackburn (Reading Abbey RFC)
07. Joe Jones (Maesteg Celtic RFC)
08. Matthew Campbell (Barry RFC)
16. Tyrone Hughes (Maesteg Quins)
17. Steve Burnett (Cefncribbwr RFC)
18. Chris Ratcliffe (Old Reigatians RFC)
19. Gareth John (Tonna RFC)
20. Timothy Parkinson (St Leonard's RFC)
21. Steven Lloyd (Penygraig RFC)
22. Chris Haddock (Cwmbran RFC)
WDRU face the usual challenges of bringing sponsors onboard and fund-raising, which is essential for the operation and growth of the union. WDRU continue to make players aware that they do not need to be profoundly deaf to be eligible to play for a deaf team. Any player with an average hearing loss of 25 decibels across both ears can play.
Richard Davies said, "The challenge after we won the World Championships, was to keep the momentum going and we have attracted new players, but there are still a lot of people who don't know we exist or think there's a stigma attached to being in this team, but that's not the case at all. Many of our players play club rugby throughout Wales with some in England". The players in the squad all have varying levels of hearing loss and use a combination of signing, lip-reading and speech to communicate.
Notes to editors:
01. Wales Deaf Rugby Union was officially set up in October 1996 after two deaf clubs (Swansea and Newport) enjoyed a series of matches throughout 1995.
02. WDRU is a registered charity, and an associate member of the WRU.
03. Wales won the bid to host the 2nd Deaf Rugby Championships in Cardiff after the bid received support from many groups and organisations including the National Assembly for Wales; Welsh Rugby Union, and the Wales tourist board.
04. WDRU has incorporated a company called DRWC 2005 Ltd to deliver the infrastructure for the championships, which is taking place during Saturday 27th August to Saturday 10th September. For further details contact the Chief Executive, David Blackburn on firstname.lastname@example.org
05. History - Swansea Deaf and Newport Deaf rugby teams played each other for the first time in October 1995 in Tredegar Park, Newport with Swansea winning 52-0 and the return match was played in Loughor RFC in March 1996 and the result was 26-0 to Swansea. More matches followed and deaf rugby players and spectators alike enjoyed the game. As the Deaf club rugby continued to grow it was agreed by both clubs to establish a formal Wales Committee structure in October 1996 to attempt to further enhance the game of Rugby in the Deaf community and promote development and awareness of deaf rugby teams. From this Committee, The Constitution and Rules of Welsh Deaf Rugby were developed, including a Membership scheme. Wales Deaf Rugby Union was born and has been granted charitable status, which have allowed them to increase the scope of their fund-raising. They have also developed links with the Welsh Rugby Union.