Clevedon’s Ruth to go to South Africa on England deaf rugby union tour

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:29 13 March 2020

Ruth Dives will compete in the England Deaf Rugby Union South Africa Tour 2020.Picture: Gary Bide

Ruth Dives will compete in the England Deaf Rugby Union South Africa Tour 2020.Picture: Gary Bide

Gary Bide

A Clevedon woman has been chosen to play for her country in the England Deaf Rugby Union South Africa Tour 2020.

Ruth Dives will compete in the England Deaf Rugby Union South Africa Tour 2020.Ruth Dives will compete in the England Deaf Rugby Union South Africa Tour 2020.

Ruth Dives, who also works at Stationhouse Nursery and Preschool in Portishead, will compete in the tournament this spring.

She set up a gofundme page to raise the £1,500 needed to make the tour, which will pay for flights, accommodation and sports' kit.

The England Deaf Rugby Union (EDRU) charity has raised more than £7,500 so far towards the project, which needs to reach a collective £30,000 target to send all of its players to South Africa.

Ruth's colleagues rallied beside her to help her run a cake sale at the Portishead nursery recently, and she has raised more than £260 towards going on tour so far.

Ruth said: 'We have to raise £1,500 each, which includes flights, accommodation and sports kit, and we're out there from May 1 to May 12.

'Everyone's been really supportive, I approached a business in Clevedon since setting up the gofundme page, which is sponsoring me, but it's also about raising awareness of deaf rugby.

'There are generally more hand signals in the deaf rugby league, like we'll signal one, two, three or four on the pitch during a game.

'If anything, there's more organisation before a game.

'There's a hashtag for the sport, #silentrugby, but I would argue it's the opposite - it's a lively game and a game for everyone.'

The EDRU charity was founded 11 years ago and was set up by deaf sports enthusiasts.

EDRU promotes rugby to deaf and hard-of-hearing players and provides support to people who want to play rugby.

The charity also offers deaf awareness knowledge to clubs working with deaf or hard-of-hearing players.

Ruth added: 'Deaf rugby has definitely taken a step forward recently, New Zealand seems to have it's own league, with teams playing across Fiji, Italy and Argentina and Wales is the nearest competitors we have.

'We need to raise awareness more because I get comments like 'oh my goodness, I didn't know you were deaf' and that people aren't aware that there's a deaf rugby league.

'It's a pride and honour to wear the red cross, and we have enough players to play 15-a-side, that is the aim, but to play as 12-a-side team would be great too.'

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