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Wales Deaf

The Wales Deaf men's team celebrate winning their world crown

Wales Deaf power to double world title success

It was a case of mission accomplished for Wales Deaf men and women as both teams returned from the World Deaf Rugby Sevens World Cup in Argentina as champions.

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The teams had to overcome obstacles on and off the course to prevail as the men’s team retained the crown they won in Australia in 2018.

Wales had to contend with sub-standard accommodation en route to double title success but Wales Deaf men’s coach RJ Coles was particularly impressed with how the squads coped and came through unbeaten.

“The manner in which it was done was very satisfying,” he said. “There were things we set out to do and we didn’t really waver much from what our intention was.

“In terms of preparation for 2018 we had maybe 12 or 13 weeks preparation but this event we had 12 or 13 months so literally over the last year we have been building towards it.”

Coles saw his side cruise through the pool stages with comfortable wins against Fiji, Japan and the Barbarians on day one before beating Argentina 25-5 in the quarter-final on day two.

Victory against arch rivals England in the semi-final with a 14-5 victory brought them one step closer to title glory.

Wales stuck to their game plan in the final against Australia to retain the trophy with a 20-5 victory.

Wales women had already beaten England in the pool stage, 19-0, with a 36-0 win over Australia and a walkover against Barbarians making it a clean sweep.

“It was a very good day, last Sunday,” said Wales team manager James Savastano, a teacher by profession, who has been involved with Wales Deaf Rugby since 2017.

“It was amazing that we won but if we can inspire half a dozen or a dozen people to come and join us, that’s more important to us as a legacy.”

Wales Deaf

The Wales Deaf men’s and women’s team in Cordoba

Wales women defeated England in the pool stage, 19-0, before improving on that scoreline in the final, with a 36-0 win over Australia and a walkover against Barbarians making it a clean sweep.

“To be fair to the girls, they stuck to the game plan. It does help when you get the ball from the kick-off and score in the first 30 seconds, it just calmed everybody down and it was a bit of procession from there,” said Wales team manager James Savastano, about the final.

“It was the girls’ first opportunity to play at that level and they really embraced it.”

While missing their usual lynchpin, Llandovery’s Welsh Premiership stalwart Shaun Miles, due to family reasons, Wales’ men could still rely on quality performers like British Army player Ben Fulton and Sam Jukes.

They went into the tournament as favourites and duly delivered, retaining their status as the ‘Invincibles’ of the deaf rugby world.

“The two tournaments in Sydney and now in Argentina, the men’s side have never lost a game. We have played 11 pool games and six knockouts and won them all,” Savastano said.

“We are hoping we can be the good news factor that’s required and be the catalyst for greater things for Welsh rugby as a whole.”

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