Dunstablians’ Max Thorne has been called up to the England Deaf team for their international against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.
England, who have named six new caps in the side for the game at 2.30pm, will be bidding to avenge two defeats by Wales last season, including one at the Arms Park, and reclaim the Broadstreet Cup which they last won in 2012 with their first win over Wales in eight years.
Head coach Sean Fletcher said: “Playing against Wales at Franklin’s Gardens helped to raise our profile and more people are aware of how you qualify to play for England Deaf.
“So I am happier now than I was 12 months ago when I took over as head coach. We are looking strong which comes from having a bigger squad and more depth of players to choose from.
“We stripped it right back to the bare bones and what we do now I would like to think we do well, we do it with speed and aggression.
“We are doing all the basics 60 per cent better than we were doing this time last year.
“But Saturday is the gauge. That international at Franklin’s Gardens was a bit of a test for the new regime but the coaching team of Aldam Mills, Paul Bailey and myself have gelled now, we understand each other and that filters through to the players.
“The knock-on effect is that the players my understand our standards and when we do come together we have clinical time together rather than chasing our tails like we used to do which I felt we did when I first got involved.”