Preston Grasshoppers Ladies are delighted to be hosting the England Deaf Women’s XV in a showcase event for women’s rugby on Saturday 24th March.
With the Hoppers girls sitting well placed in the NC1 North West leagues and the England Girls undefeated in their preparations for the World Deaf 7s series in Australia later this year, this promises to be a competitive game between to very capable sides.
The England Deaf Rugby Union (EDRU) was set up to enable deaf and hard of hearing people to come together to enjoy the sport of rugby union, as well as allowing them the opportunity to represent their country. To be eligible, players must be deaf or hard of hearing, but do not have to have complete hearing loss. To qualify players need to have a combined average hearing loss of 25db or more in both ears.
Whilst many players usually wear hearing aids, it is the rules of International Deaf rugby that hearing aids are not worn during an international match. IRB rules state that a player may not wear any communication devices, which includes a hearing aid, although new rules have been put in place to allow cochlear implants. As such, the Laws of the deaf game are exactly the same as we are used to, although visual signals are utilised for the setting of the scrum.
Sale Sharks World Cup winning England wing Ben Cohen, who is clinically deaf, said, “Rugby is one of those sports where being deaf need not be a barrier to playing whether at grass roots or international level. It’s a game that relies on instinct as well as skill, and while there will always be challenges for deaf or hearing impaired players, the opportunities are comparable as for any other player”.
Preston Grasshoppers already have two representatives in the EDRU as Men’s 1st XV Prop Pete Altham and Ladies 1st XV Christina Tully both regularly represent their respective England Deaf sides. With Christina facing her club side in the white of her country on the day, it is a proud moment for everyone involved.
The game will also be streamed live here – https://livestream.com/EnglandDeafRugby/EnglandDeafWomenvsPrestonGrasshoppersLadies
Kick off for the day is 1pm so come and support both teams and witness the fantastic England Girls play ‘Silent Rugby’.