History & Results
After the Second World War, the first time a Deaf person played in high level of Provincial Union was Ronald Twaddle, a prop forward, for North Otago 'A'. He represented the team in 1946, 1948, 1950 and 1951. In the annual province game against Otago, Twaddle played against Kevin Skinner, an All Black player who was prop forward for Otago side. There were other All Black players in the Otago side as well. Twaddle also played against other provinces for the national tournament and Ranfurly Shield.
Another Deaf player was Laurence Schischka, a 1.95cm lock forward for (Auckland) Ponsonby Senior 'A' in 1945-46. His team won the Auckland championship in 1945.
1954 - Titirangi School for Deaf
Owen Gibbons, a lock forward, was a representative for Golden Bay-Motueka 'A' in 1955. Nelson Bays amalgamated in 1969.
Formal organisation of deaf rugby began in Auckland in 1952 when Titirangi and Mt Wellington School for Deaf teams played in the annual deaf rugby school matches and against local primary schools until 1957, from 1958 onwards Kelston School for Deaf entered teams into inter-schools a both primary and secondary school level.
1958 - Kelston School for Deaf
All deaf participants, despite their handicap, truly entered into the spirit of the game. The game of rugby plays an important part in allowing people with a Deaf Handicap to compete as equals with their hearing peers.
Deaf teams from Kelston have been reasonably successful, winning games against much heavier and better-coached teams; obviously they have also suffered their share of defeats.
|Teams played against comprised:|
|Auckland Grammar School||Sacred Heart College|
|St Peter’s College||St Kentigens College|
|St Pauls College||Selwyn College|
|Tamaki College||Mt Albert Grammar|
|Kings College||Kelston High School|
From 1967 onwards Kelston School for Deaf was unable to field teams on its own account. Pupils of playing age were integrated into their local area high schools in order to further their education, rather than continuing at a special purpose School for Deaf. Instead Deaf boys have been able to compete at levels suitable to their skills by representing the school they attend.
Once a deaf boy leaves school, the New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union makes every endeavour to ensure that he continues with his rugby interest. He is encouraged to become involved in the local club rugby scene. Similarly in other major centres around New Zealand the same philosophy is followed. This encouragement has enabled deaf rugby players to excel at the sport with many playing at senior club level, and a number going onto provincial representation. One deaf player, Warwick Flintoff has not only played for King Country but has also toured to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile as part of the Rugby News N.Z. Youth Team, coach by Alex Wyille who became coach of All Black New Zealand team in the later.
As an incentive national tournament is held annually in which only deaf players participate. The first tournament being held in Wellington in 1990. This tournament has proved most successful and comprised both full fifteen and seven aside teams.
Foundation of NZDRFU
Because of the burgeoning success of the annual tournament it became imperative that a formal organisation be established to represent profoundly and hearing impaired interests. Consequently the New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union was founded in 1991 together with the Northern, Central and Southern Zone Deaf Rugby Unions. The founder President of the New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union is the Mr. Reginald Leach. Mr. Kevin Pivac is the leadship and founder Secretary of the NZDRFU and affiliated associate member to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) in 1995.
In 1993, the annual general meeting of the NZDRFU, announced the new competition for the NZDRFU Rugby Shield of the National Deaf Rugby Inter-Zonal Championships has contested annually only started in 1994, for competition among affiliated zone unions on a challenge basis.
1995 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team vs South Africa
The first ever International Deaf Rugby Test Series was held in New Zealand in 1995 between New Zealand and South Africa. The South Africa was the winner, 2 - 1.
In 1997, the first time New Zealand Deaf side was played against the Provincial Union of Horowhenua Kapiti development side but NZ Deaf lost to Horowhenua Kapiti side 25 - 104 results.
1998 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team, Tour to Wales
In 1998, the New Zealand Deaf team visited in United Kingdom for the first time. The first International Deaf Rugby Test Series between New Zealand and Wales was held in United Kingdom. New Zealand won the series 3 - 0. The games were held at local rugby clubs.
In November 1998 the New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union was appointed by the IDRO (International Deaf Rugby Organisation) as the Host Union of 2002 Deaf Rugby World Championship (DRWC) Tournament. Thus, Kevin Pivac, temporary administrator was accepted and agreed by the representatives until the new Executive Council of IDRO in 2000.
On 12-13 August 2000, the International Deaf Rugby Organisation (IDRO) body has been approved and signed by 10 delegates from 5 countries. New founder elected the IDRO Executive Council, Chairman: Kevin Pivac and Vice chairman: Reginald Leach for 2 years term until 2002.
2000 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team
In 2000, the New Zealand Deaf side was played against the Provincial Union of Wairarapa Bush 'B' side at Masterton for the first time. New Zealand Deaf lost to Wairarapa Bush 10 - 59, Halftime 3 - 41. NZ Deaf team much improved than in 1997.
2001 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team, First Trans Tasman Matches
First ever Trans Tasman Deaf Rugby Test Series between Australia and New Zealand. The New Zealand Deaf Team defeated their Australia counterparts by 25 to 0 in Sydney on Saturday 1st September 2001. Playing the first test of two, New Zealanders lead 3 - 0 at the break through a penalty to Opeti Finaulangi. In the second half, the New Zealanders dominated the game and ran away to a 25 to 0 win scoring 4 tries to nil.
Darryl Alexander starred for the New Zealand team scoring two tries, with other tries going to Michael Waites and Mark Siviter.
The Australian Deaf Rugby team avenged its first test lost by defeating their New Zealand counterparts 15 - 12 in 2nd test at Concord Oval in Sydney on Saturday 8th September. The New Zealanders were held scoreless in the first half, and although an improved second half showing resulted in two tries to Nicholas Down, it was not enough to catch the Australians.
On Tuesday 4th September 2001, the New Zealand Deaf Rugby Team conquered the Invitation XV by 27 to 12 in Narrabeen, North Sydney.
2002 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team, Cochlear Cup
The Australian Rugby Union has been invited to the NZ Deaf Rugby team played against the Australia Deaf Team in the curtain raiser to the Bledisloe Cup in Stadium Australia, (2000 Sydney Olympic) to make first biggest deaf sport history. New Zealand’s Deaf Blacks avenged the All Black loss by claiming the first Cochlear Cup over the Australian Deaf side, 19 - 17 fulltime. Australia lead at the halftime 17 - 6.
The First Deaf Rugby World Cup
Wales were crowned world champions at the inaugural Deaf Rugby World Championships at Eden Park, Auckland in August 2002. Wales beat New Zealand 28 - 14 at fulltime. Australia 3rd place.
2002 - NZ Deaf Rugby Team, Inaugural Rugby World Cup
Australia captured the inaugural Deaf Rugby Sevens World Cup, which has been run side-by-side with the first ever 15-man World Cup, in Auckland.
The Aussies brushed off Japan, New Zealand and Wales in the pool section before hammering Japan 34-5 in the final. Wales beat New Zealand in play off for 3rd place.