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Deafboks to compete in world champs

The Deafboks have been officially affiliated with the South African Rugby Union.

THE South African Deaf Rugby Union has announced its official affiliation with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).

This is of enormous historic significance for SA Deaf Rugby, as it marks the first time affiliation has been granted to a Deaf Rugby team in South Africa.

After a much anticipated AGM, SARU announced at a press conference that the South African Deaf Rugby Union was accepted into affiliate membership. SADRU (or the Deafboks as they are more commonly known), have been waiting for this opportunity ever since they secured the three nominations from the unions they needed in order to be considered for affiliation.

SADRU was an idea that was resurrected in 2007 by a team of deaf and hard of hearing players who were determined to bring deaf rugby back in to South Africa and by doing so raise deaf awareness in the country. All they required was affiliation from SARU to be able to get IRB-sanction for Test level rugby which would allow them to enter a team in the Deaf Rugby World Championship to be held in 2015. The dream became a reality after the AGM on 28 March, and now the team begins training for its first ever international tour to be held in the United Kingdom in November this year. The tour will see the Deafboks take on the England and Wales Deaf Rugby teams in a first-of-its kind clash.

The Deaf Rugby World Championship is set to happen in Cardiff with dates to be confirmed. Countries that have been confirmed so far are Australia, Wales, England, Italy, Argentina, South Africa and the USA.

The squad is made up of 32 deaf and hard of hearing players, with Durban born scrum-half Mark Barnard to captain them. The team will be coached by Kyle Bowe-Taylor and Luther van de Merwe and backed by sports psychologist Dr Leon van Niekerk. Former Springbok scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen has joined as SADRU patron.

This is a momentous day in deaf sport history, the Deafboks will wear their green and gold proudly as they wave the South African flag when they represent our country overseas in the future.

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