A snapshot of the inaugural 2002 Deaf Rugby World Championships held in Auckland, briefly touching on official matches, friendly games, and two social evenings at Auckland Deaf Club, with speeches galore!
The New Zealand Deaf rugby team, along with the Welsh, Japanese and Australian Deaf rugby teams, gather at Auckland Deaf Society for a welcome evening. Teams are introduced, and everyone mingles, with a series of fun games such as ‘Closest coin to the bottle’ where players toss coins at a bottle and the player with the closest coin wins the game and the bottle! Surely a future Olympic event!
Footage goes on to briefly cover two friendly games (15-a-side) which were also staged in addition to the tournament schedule, New Zealand Deaf Māori & Pacific Island Invitational XV against Japan and later Wales at Waitemata Park.
Footage also covers New Zealand’s 15-a-side game against Australia at Waitemata Park, before briefly touching upon the final at Eden Park, with a rousing NZSL version of ‘God Defend New Zealand’ by the fully clad and face-painted Janet Martin, a Deaf New Zealander.
Note: Four countries took part in the Championships, Australia, New Zealand and Wales competed in both the 15-a-side game and the Sevens competition while Japan competed in the Sevens only. The first ever Deaf Rugby World Champions (15-a-side) were the Welsh team who defeated New Zealand by 28 – 14 in the final at Eden Park. Australia placed third. As for the inaugural Deaf Rugby World Sevens Championship, it was won by Australia with a 32 – 5 victory over Japan at Waitemata Park. Wales beat New Zealand by 53 – 5 in a play-off for third place.