Wales, the current world deaf rugby champions, are set to depart on their inaugural visit to South Africa this week.
The 28 strong squad will depart for the southern hemisphere on Wednesday 5 August to play South Africa Deaf Rugby in a two match test series that will see both nations compete against each other for the first time.
Wales will take on the ‘Deaf Boks’ in Pretoria on Saturday 8 and Wednesday 12 August 2015 with kick off at 1500 (local time), 1400 (UK time).
South Africa Deaf Rugby was formed in 2007 and the tests against Wales will be their first international matches. Since March 2014, the ‘Deaf Boks’ have been a full Associate Member of the South African Rugby Union and have full World Rugby (formerly International Rugby Board) Test status.
During the tour, the Wales squad will also visit Transoranje School for the Deaf and participate in rugby skills coaching with pupils who have a hearing impairment. This reflects similar activity undertaken in Wales as we strive to give young people the opportunity to give rugby a try and identify players for the future.
The South African Deaf Rugby Union currently has around 45 deaf senior players registered on its database and many more through the junior age groups currently playing school rugby.
Speaking at the Sport Wales National Centre, Wales team captain Adam Brake, said; “This tour is another important step, not only for deaf rugby in Wales, but for the development of deaf rugby worldwide. We are looking forward to a stern test against the ‘Deaf Boks’ in a country renowned for its passion for rugby.”
He continued; “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has supported our fundraising efforts to make this tour a reality and will be looking to maintain our position as the leading nation in deaf rugby worldwide.”
Tim Stones, President and Chief Executive Officer for the South African Deaf Rugby Union, said; “We are absolutely thrilled to have the enormous privilege of hosting such a quality Team as the current world champions, Wales, in our first ever official international Test series. It will be an almighty Test series, and we have no doubt that the quality of rugby from both teams will be of a top class international standard.”
He continued; “We are proud to host Wales and look forward to a thrilling contest that showcases the very best in international deaf rugby. We hope this inaugural Test series between South Africa and Wales will set a new benchmark for deaf rugby internationally.”