Deaf black dreams come true

South Waikato News - - Your Place, Your Paper - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Two Toko­roarugby play­ers have been se­lected to join the Deaf Blacks in a test against Ar­gentina.

Tama Al­bert, 26, and Ka­mau Wise, 27, were told the good news at a re­cent tour­na­ment held in Auck­land and left with the rest of the team on Tues­day.

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the help of a sign lan­guage in­ter­preter Maria Al­bert, Wise and Al­bert said they had been se­lected for the Deaf Blacks be­fore.

But pre­vi­ous tours were can­celled so the pair never got the chance to rep­re­sent their country.

Al­bert said they had only played against the Aus­tralians be­fore so the tour to Ar­gentina would be a good ex­pe­ri­ence.

A win­ning per­for­mance dur­ing the Easter tour­na­ment in Auck­land put them on the se­lec­tors’ radar.

The pair were on op­po­site sides dur­ing the play­offs.

Al­bert, who plays with the North­ern Mar­lins, came head to head with Wise who still plays for the Cen­tral Stags in Welling­ton.

Wise moved to Toko­roa in 2015 and cur­rently plays for the lo­cal rugby league club, Forest­land Fal­cons.

Be­ing deaf has its ad­van­tage said Al­bert, who also plays for the same team.

The pair use hand sig­nals to com­mu­ni­cate and lip read­ing.

‘‘We use our eyes and al­ways look­ing around. We do the moves and fo­cus.

‘‘The deaf are more fo­cused be­cause there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween us and hear­ing.

‘‘There’s all sorts of noise and that can put you off but with us it’s silent and we’re more fo­cussed on the moves and play­ers.’’ Tama Al­bert

‘‘There’s all sorts of noise and that can put you off but with us it’s silent and we’re more fo­cussed on the moves and play­ers.’’ He said play­ing with deaf rugby play­ers was a faster game. ‘‘You do one move and ev­ery­one picks it up and straight into it. ‘‘Your ears will be your eyes.’’ The team will play three tests which is a first for the NZ Deaf Blacks. ‘‘It’s a mean ex­pe­ri­ence to travel the world do­ing what we love,’’ said Al­bert.

Wise was born deaf but it didn’t put him off play­ing the sport he loves and at 5 he started play­ing rugby in Napier.

Al­bert re­cently had the bag he had his hear­ing aides in stolen while he was on a rugby tour­na­ment and he hasn’t been able to re­place them due to the cost.

But it won’t stop him go­ing on tour.

Tama Al­bert and Ka­mau Wise will rep­re­sent New Zealand in the Deaf Blacks first test against Ar­gentina.

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