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Wales Deaf Defeat New Zealand

Wales Deaf Defeat New Zealand

Wales defeated New Zealand by 11-5 in a rugby international played on Saturday at Eden Park, Auckland in the Inaugural Deaf Rugby World Championship.

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The victory was the first for Wales in New Zealand since the Wales Senior Schools gained a 17-11 win at Christchurch in 1990.

It was a massive effort by the Wales Deaf side and Richard Evans of Cwmavon, their skipper, controlled affairs at fly half aided by a splendid display from his half-back partner Ioan Jones of Trimsaran.

The Wales squad had their international jerseys presented to them by Graham Henry, the fomer Wales coach, before the match and quickly went in front when Brecon centre Mark Withey crossed for a try.

Evans increased the lead with a penalty before the interval and added a similar score early in the second half before New Zealand hit back with corner try by wing Michael May.

As New Zealand attacked strongly, flanker Neil Billingham retired with a cut head, but Wales tackled well to hold on to their lead and centre Luke Blackburn was able to celebrate his 23rd birthday.

Wales team:
S Lloyd (Penygraig); N Francis (Bath Univ), M Withey (Brecon), L Blackburn (Abbey), A P Davies (Llandybie); R Evans (Cwmavon, capt), I Jones (Trimsaran); C Retcliffe (Eppingham), Jason Evans (Dunvant), A Lloyd (Ynysybwl), T Hughes (Maesteg Quins), P Galtry (Blaengarw), N Billingham (Penygraig), James Evans (Birchgrove), A Rees (Haywards Heath).

S Burnett, A Lewis (Maesteg Quins), R Watkins (St Julians), A M Davies (Cardiff Acads), P Watts, A Alderman (Buckfastleigh), C Haddock (Cwmbran).

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