This week we caught up with Sally Faehrmann who has recently returned from the World Deaf Tournament where she was awarded with the Australian player of the tournament. We took the time to have a chat with Sally between her University studies to hear all about what it was like representing her country.
The Australian Womens and Men Teams at World Deaf Rugby Tournament.
Firstly congratulations on getting selected in the Australian Team. How did that come about?
Hi Paul, Thanks for catching up with me. Deaf Rugby is a rugby community where anyone can be involved, however those who are deaf take part in playing. I got involved similar to Jack - Mono Tyler reached out to me a couple days before the trial in October saying I should give it a crack. Lucky it was in Sydney (Hunters Hill) as I was able to get down there without any problem. If it was in another city of Australia it may have been hard to organize to travel there with only a couple of days notice. So very lucky to know Mono!
Traveling overseas to represent your country must have been special?
Words can’t explain how special it was, traveling halfway across the world to have this opportunity was unreal. It is amazing to see there are ways for people with disadvantages like this to still represent their country.
Did you get to do any sight seeing?
We had two days post tournament to have a bit of a look around, we saw the City of Cordoba which had a beautiful Cathedral. We did a bus tour to the countryside all day. This was after the celebrations so some had a tough bus ride! The countryside was also beautiful!
How did you find the Argentinian people?
The Argentina people (soldiers, volunteers etc) who looked after us at the Army Barracks and at the Rugby Tournament were very welcoming and so excited to have us all there. They were lovely people. However, Cordoba itself had higher unemployment rates with the town fairly run down. Coming from Sydney to Cordoba was quite a shock. Their love and passion for rugby was amazing to see, it is always very enjoyable to see how different cultures show their love for the game of rugby.
So tell us about the Tournament?
The women only had 4 countries competing: Australia, Barbarians (a team made of players from countries who couldn’t get a team together), England and Wales.
There was also meant to be a New Zealand side as they pulled out - something tells me because they can’t stand 7s!
Each team played each other once then 1st and 2nd played for the trophy and 3rd and 4th played off for Bronze. Our team lost to Wales and England and won to the Barbarians in the round games. There was some great rugby played from all countries.
I hear their was some confusion over the Bronze Metal Game?
The game wasn’t going to be played! So the Barbarians pulled out of the finals a few days before because they had quite a few injuries, but with the day off they turned the corner and were all good to play. Due to miscommunication this didn’t get told to us Aussie Women’s so we turned up to the ground with no thought of playing and to cheer on the Aussie Men. After a frantic realization that the Barbs were keen to play, the Argentina Rugby Organisers organised us a private bus back to the hotel to grab our kit and get back to the field. Dougy the physio strapped those who needed it, and we quickly warmed up then stepped out in the Aussie Jersey again to play one last time. The game was played outstandingly, considering the previous hour was rush hour. We took the Bronze model with a score of 26-5.
What was the highlight of the tournament for you?
I have been asked this question many times since coming home and every time without a doubt it was all the amazing people I have met. It blows my mind how a community like this (Deaf people) can come together to play rugby but also share what we all have in common. I have to admit my favorite people to meet were the English people as we formed a special bond with them as a country. The Australian women and England Women formed a special bond. We had to play against each other after spending 3 days together in the Army Barracks. This game was just pure rugby played, then at the end we formed a circle with the England women, Aussie men and England men. I was so chuffed seeing everyone come together, I said to everyone “How awesome is the game of rugby for bringing us all together like this”. This was very special to me.
Where to now with deaf rugby. Are there more tournaments coming up?
There will be test matches in the years to come but every 4 years there will be the World Deaf Rugby Cup with Deaflympics every 4 years as well. The next Deaflympics is to happen in 2025 in Japan. Anyone looking to sponsor Australian Deaf Rugby, feel free to get in touch!
When can we expect to see you playing for Eastwood?
I am playing my childhood sport basketball, so this clashes with footy. There are the women’s 10s each Saturday and 7s comp every few Sundays which kick off this Sunday. I will be playing these games when they don’t clash which I find out each week! Hoping to make the home games for the Women's 10s and 7s.
Thanks Sally for taking the time to talk to us and all the best with your Uni, basketball and rugby.