Tag Archives: VI Rugby

Sport transformed my life! – Matt Lancett

Photo of Matt kancett charging toward a player to tackle him in a game of VI Rugby - Sport transformed my life! - Matt Lancett
“Sport transformed my life and gave me back the confidence to live life to the fullest”

Four years ago Matt Lancett suffered a stroke which resulted in him having a visual impairment.  It was a blow to his independence and confidence and, as a keen sportsman, he felt his life had no future.  All this changed when he discovered and started taking part, in VI sport.

We caught up with Matt to find out about his story and how sport has changed his life.

Matt Lancett is a happily married 45-year-old man with two children.  It was on his wedding anniversary that the stroke caused the loss of his left field of vision in both eyes (a condition called left homonymous hemianopia) and his life was changed forever.

 

Matt and family at a wedding
Matt and family at a wedding

Prior to his stroke Matt was a qualified butcher, played football regularly and was a keen runner, which included him completing the London Marathon.

After coming out of hospital he suffered with balance issues, severe loss of confidence and anxiety for the next 12 months.

But his fortunes changed when his brother told him about a woman with a visual impairment, who was playing rugby at Warriors Community Foundation in nearby Worcester.

Matt said:

“I’d started to think about playing football again, but it was too far to travel and I didn’t have the confidence. As rugby was on my doorstep, the anxiety of travel was removed so I decided to get on the train for the short journey and give it a try.
Matt Lancett and the Worcester Warriors
Matt Lancett and the Worcester Warriors

Matt passing rugby ball

“Having a ball back in my hand was incredible. It was instantly a huge lift to be playing some type of sport again.”

But it wasn’t just the physical activity aspect that was important Matt explained: “I hadn’t socialised outside of the family for a year so to be back chatting and travelling with other visually impaired people was so uplifting. I had the chance to speak to other visually impaired people about how they have overcome their challenges.”

In a short period of time, Matt found himself taking part in more sports and he joined the local VI cricket team. He also now takes part in running again with a guide and plays football.

Matt Lancett running

He found through running, football, cricket, and in particular rugby, a new sense of freedom.

His confidence steadily grew. There were no longer constant worries about bumping into things. No worries about cars or other people around as he knew he safely on a sports pitch.

As well as playing locally in Worcester, he is part of the Change Foundation team in London. To take part in this he travels independently each month, even though this is challenging.

But the rewards have been life-changing! Matt was lucky enough to join the UK team in Japan to play VI rugby as part of the rugby World Cup arrangements in 2019. He travelled to Tokyo to compete in a three-test series against rivals from Japan and New Zealand. For Matt, it was an experience of a lifetime.

He looks back to how it all started:

“If it wasn’t for my brother telling me about VI rugby things could have been very different. I had to have some drive to get up and try things out and I would encourage everyone to try something new – you might just reap the same benefits I have.”
Matt Lancett and the England Rugby Team in Japan
Matt Lancett and the England Rugby Team in Japan

Prior to getting active again, Matt thought he was a 40-year-old man with no future. He now knows this is not the case, but he needed the support of family and his friends to realise what could still be achieved.

He is now working with Warriors Community Foundation to promote visually impaired rugby to people in the Worcester area and beyond. He said: “The aim is to roll out the game to all parts of the UK, to remove travel and cost barriers that exist and provide opportunities at a local level.

“I back working and my family more broadly has benefited. My wife has got some of her freedom back to do things just for herself. She has the confidence that I am taking part in activities safely and working alongside people who understand what support is needed.’

Sport and physical activity was the springboard that Matt needed to get some part of his old life back. He added:

“I encourage all visually impaired people to try something new as I know the impact it can have. It has transformed my life and given me back the confidence to live life to the fullest.”

 

If you would like to try a  blind or partially sighted sport, please contact our Sport Development Officer: martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call 07956 292046

 

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Visually Impaired Rugby 26 Nov!

Vision Impaired Rugby in East London

Metro Blind Sport is providing an exciting new sport, Visually Impaired Rugby in East London.

We are very pleased to announce that we have been working in partnership with East London Community Sports Association and The Change Foundation to provide an exciting new sport, Visually Impaired rugby.

For those who may not have heard of VI rugby or would like to know more you can do so by following these two links here:

The sessions will be led and coordinated by two experienced rugby coaches who will offer supportive guidance and coaching to those who take part.

The sessions will also take place on an all-weather pitch outdoors. These sessions will reflect the current sessions which exist in West London, Teddington and organised by The Change Foundation.  The first session starts in November and will then continue to run every month in East London.

And to celebrate the beginning of the VI rugby sessions, East London Community Sports Association will kindly be providing post-session food and drinks which we are sure will make everyone feel welcome.

Event Details
Dates:  26 Nov, 17 Dec 2019 , 21 Jan 2020  Times: 5:30 pm – 7 pm  (Monthly)
Location: 71 Holland Rd, London E15 3BP
Cost: FREE
Contact: martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927

For the first session we will require a pre-completed register, please contact Charlie Raven by phone or email to confirm your attendance and he will register you to take part.

Meet and Greet available at West Ham station, 30 minutes before the session starts. The following lines run at West Ham Station – District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and DLR.

To sign up to the FREE monthly sessions, please email martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927 to indicate your availability for session a week in advance. It is important to notify us beforehand to help us effectively plan for the session delivery.

 

 

Visually Impaired Rugby in Japan!

Visually Impaired Rugby in Japan

The image above: Si Ledwith carries against the ‘Blind Blacks’ in 2017, the series that launched VI rugby (QBE)

Visually impaired rugby joins the World Cup party as England face Japan in Kumagaya

original article by  www.rugbyworld.com

Fancy a bit of rugby? Then close your eyes and picture this: the smell of freshly cut grass; the roar of the crowd; running full pelt down the field; the touchline almost in reach; your winger just to your right; the heavy footsteps of the opposing defender bearing down on you.

Now, open just one eye slightly, squint tightly, and try your best to catch that ball hurtling towards you while avoiding that other defender coming at you headlong even faster!

That may give you an inkling of an idea as to what teams playing visually impaired rugby face each time they take to the field. And on Monday, visually impaired (VI) rugby will hit the world stage as part of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

In recent years, The Change Foundation (TCF) in the UK, with its visually impaired coaches and players, has developed VI rugby as a seven-a-side touch version, played with an adapted ball that makes a noise to help players locate it when it’s moving.

In partnership with the Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation, TCF established the first VI rugby teams in England and launched the game with a series between the ‘Blind Lions’ and the ‘Blind Blacks’ in New Zealand during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour.

On 14 October, which is a National Holiday of Sport and Health, the Visually Impaired Rugby Festival will feature a three-match series between England and Japan at Kumagaya Stadium.

England VI team. Top (from left): Si Ledwith, Jack Pearce, Dan Linekar (coach), Ryan Jones, Christopher Styles. Bottom: Gareth Davies, Alex Bassan (head coach), Mathew Lancett (TCF)
Ready to go: the England VI team. Top (from left): Si Ledwith, Jack Pearce, Dan Linekar (coach), Ryan Jones, Christopher Styles. Bottom: Gareth Davies, Alex Bassan (head coach), Mathew Lancett (TCF)

The Change Foundation will also be showcasing VI rugby as part of the Festival of Rugby that is running throughout the World Cup. The finale is a match between a combined Japan and England Visually Impaired team and a Wasps Legends team captained by former England and Lions lock Simon Shaw and including ex-France flanker Serge Betsen.

“I’m delighted to be able to support this brilliant cause by putting the boots on in Japan,” Shaw says. “The Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation have done a great job supporting the development of this new form of the game. It’s brilliant that the rugby family is reaching out to players who up to now thought they could never play our great game.”

The England VI team includes a Welshman, Gareth Davies, who was diagnosed in his teens with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that causes tunnel vision. He now has just 10% vision in his left eye. “I was born in Wiltshire but my dad Dwyfor is a Welsh speaker from Ystalyfera and my late mum was from Clydach and I’ve lived in Wales for more than 20 years,” he told the BBC last year.

Also in the team is Si Ledwith, who was instrumental in creating the sport, as Rugby World reported two years ago. He told us then: “Our overall goal was to make the game look and feel as much like mainstream rugby as possible whilst still being accessible. So we have scrums and lineouts but they’re uncontested. We still create the patterns and scenarios of rugby but take away some of the danger.

“We’ve not reinvented the wheel. It’s based around rugby sevens, two-handed touch, but we’ve developed a ball that has some sound, both in hand when running and in the air when passed. We simply filled it with a thousand ball bearings so that it rattles.”

New Zealand’s Cory Herberley in action.
Blind ambition: New Zealand’s Cory Herberley in action. Now VI rugby will be played in Japan (QBE)

to play rugby at school on account of his visual impairment – he was born blind in his left eye and very short-sighted in his right. His sight was restricted still further by an accident on the cricket field in 2015, the ball hitting him in the eye and causing a brain haemorrhage that rendered him totally blind for two weeks.

“Fortunately the blood drained away but I can’t see anywhere near what I used to. I’m one of the lowest-sighted in the team and I was on the left wing because I can only see out of my right eye. You might have one of the tunnel-vision guys slightly wider so he can look across the line and communicate to those who aren’t seeing the line as well. It’s an interesting dynamic and the referee is key because he’s kind of a commentator.”

VI rugby ambassadors Andy Robinson and Ian McKinley have helped prepare the team for Japan. Robinson’s father was blind and had matches audio described while McKinley lost an eye following injury in 2011 but went on to play for Benetton and Italy. McKinley plans to take the field at TCF’s showcase event in 2020, the VI Rugby Six Nations demonstration event.

Throughout next year, TCF will work with each of the Six Nations teams to develop the sport in their countries. In England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, TCF will work with the home unions to select a ‘Blind Lions’ team to travel to South Africa to play the ‘Blind Boks’ during the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour.

 

VI Rugby East London 14 March

Vision Impaired Rugby in East London
Venue:
SportsHubE15, 71 Holland Rd, London E15 3BP
Time:
10 .00 am - 12.00 pm
Phone:
07508 958 927
Date:
14th March 2020
Cost:
FREE


Vision Impaired Rugby in East London.

These sessions will reflect the current sessions which exist in West London, Teddington and organised by The Change Foundation.  The first session starts on 14 March and will then continue to run every month in East London.

The sessions will be led and coordinated by two experienced rugby coaches who will offer supportive guidance and coaching to those who take part.

Event Details
Date:  Saturday 14 March 2020  Times: 10.00 am – 12.00 pm (Monthly)
Location: SportsHubE15, 71 Holland Rd, London E15 3BP  Cost: FREE
Contact: martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927

For the first session we will require a pre-completed register, please contact Charlie Raven by phone or email to confirm your attendance and he will register you to take part.

Meet and Greet available at West Ham Station TFL

Customer Services Point from 9:30 am

The following lines run at West Ham Station – District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and DLR.

For those who may not have heard of VI rugby or would like to know more you can do so by following these two links here:

We are very pleased that we have been working in partnership with East London Community Sports Association and The Change Foundation to provide an exciting new sport, Visually Impaired rugby.

To sign up to the FREE monthly sessions, please email martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927 to indicate your availability for a session a week in advance. It is important to notify us beforehand to help us effectively plan for the session delivery.

 

VI Rugby East London 17 Dec

Vision Impaired Rugby in East London
Venue:
71 Holland Rd, London E15 3BP
Time:
5.30 pm - 7.00 pm
Phone:
07508 958 927
Date:
17th December 2019
Cost:
FREE


Vision Impaired Rugby in East London.

We are very pleased to announce that we have been working in partnership with East London Community Sports Association and The Change Foundation to provide an exciting new sport, Visually Impaired rugby.

For those who may not have heard of VI rugby or would like to know more you can do so by following these two links here:

The sessions will be led and coordinated by two experienced rugby coaches who will offer supportive guidance and coaching to those who take part.

The sessions will also take place on an all-weather pitch outdoors. These sessions will reflect the current sessions which exist in West London, Teddington and organised by The Change Foundation.  The first session starts in November and will then continue to run every month in East London.

And to celebrate the beginning of the VI rugby sessions, East London Community Sports Association will kindly be providing post-session food and drinks which we are sure will make everyone feel welcome.

Event Details
Dates:  Tues 17 Dec 2019 , 21 Jan 2020  Times: 5:30 pm – 7 pm  (Monthly)
Location: 71 Holland Rd, London E15 3BP
Cost: FREE
Contact: martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927

For the first session we will require a pre-completed register, please contact Charlie Raven by phone or email to confirm your attendance and he will register you to take part.

Meet and Greet available at West Ham station, 30 minutes before the session starts. The following lines run at West Ham Station – District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and DLR.

To sign up to the FREE monthly sessions, please email martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org or call on 07508 958 927 to indicate your availability for session a week in advance. It is important to notify us beforehand to help us effectively plan for the session delivery.