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Grand slam 2014!

IR Wheelchair Rugby 7s

  • 18.50% funded
  • € 555.00 pledged
  • Days Left

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Wheelchair Rugby Sevens is relatively new in Ireland, having only been introduced in 2013.  The sport has been played in France and Italy for nearly 11 years.  While it can be confused with the traditional “Quad Rugby”, this isn’t the “murder ball” type rugby played on a basketball court that many may have witnessed in the Paralympics, but a more faithful representation of traditional rugby played on a 40m x 20m court in two halves of 40 minutes each. Each team has seven players consisting of hooker, lock, flanker, scrum half, centre, wing and full back and there are three substitutions allowed out of a squad of 10.

The teams use a regulation Size 4 ball and tries are scored by the ball being touched down in the in goal area. Conversions, and penalties, are taken by a GAA style “punch” of the ball and the game incorporates its own adapted versions of scrums and line outs.

The Irish team only came together in April of 2013 and with a mixture of basketball players, rugby enthusiasts and previous Paralympians there is no shortage of skills and determination on the team. The team comprises of a range of disabled athletes from spina bifida to cerebral palsy to acquired spinal injury athletes, along with a couple of able bodied players. The teams overcome their impairments, and through the auspices of Wheelchair Rugby Sevens, compete on a level playing ground with other athletes.

In the inaugural Wheelchair Rugby Six Nations in Vichy, France last June, Ireland managed to secure the Triple Crown and placed third overall in the tournament.

Since then there has been a surge in the popularity of the sport and in the development of Wheelchair Rugby Sevens in Ireland. Rugby Sevens train on a twice monthly basis, and players come from all over the Island of Ireland.

Currently we are training in preparation to travel to France and take part in the Six Nations Championship in Paris this summer. The squad are seeking support to defend their Triple Crown title and ultimately are seeking to win and bring another Six Nations trophy home to Ireland this year.

James McCarthy, who captained the team to the Triple Crown last year, explains why he got involved with Wheelchair Rugby Sevens:

“I think like everyone the reason I started playing was out of a love for rugby.  Being born with a disability meant that I never could play the game and thus my involvement meant being in the crowd as much as possible.  When I heard about Rugby 7s I didn’t know was it going to be another adaptation of murder ball or what so I went to the demo. I was hooked straight away!  Finally, here was a true adapted form of Union played by 7s. There was an oval ball, line outs, scrums, tries, converts; everything.  If I could make the team I was finally going to be able to call myself a rugby player as my Dad had been back in the 1950s and 60s.  I made the cut and when I was given the captains armband I was both proud and humbled.  We train as hard as any team.  We adapt the game to suit our players and plays. In our first year we won the Triple Crown in Auvergne. This game is growing and it’s great to be a part of it.”

It is with the help and support of family and friends and also assistance from IWA Sport that the team has been able to come so far in such a short space of time.  We receive no funding from the Irish Sports Council so to continue to develop and expand the sport and for the National team to be successful we need your help! We are currently looking for €3000 to continue preparation for the Six Nations 2014 and to develop the sport in the wake of what we hope will be another successful Championship for the team.  The money will also be used to help fund our trip to Paris. We would also accept any donations of equipment to the team/programme.

Thank you very much for the support, it means a huge amount to us.

As an extra thank you to those who donate to the campaign, the names of everyone who has donated will be put into a hat and two lucky people will each win a pair of Ted Baker sunglasses worth over €120 thanks to West Midland Optical.

 

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+Thank Yous and Updates

Home Nations, Liverpool June 2014

The team are taking part in the inaugural Home Nations in Liverpool on 21st and 22nd June as a warm up to the 6 Nations in Paris later in the summer. The competition will feature the Welsh and English teams alongside a British Barbarians side comprising of mainly Scottish and English players. The team have been training hard and are hopeful that we will do well in the competition. For updates throughout the competition, please follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far and helped to get us to this point.

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