Llandovery RFC has a World Cup champion in its midst writes Huw S Thomas.
29 year old Shaun Miles has just returned from Sydney, Australia where he was in the winning Wales side that were crowned World Cup Deaf Sevens champions.
Held over two intensive days of competition, Wales were unbeaten at the pool stage with impressive wins over Fiji, Japan and Australia before edging a quarter final win over International VII Dragonflies and Fiji again in the semi final to get to the final
Wales scored first through Jack Tugwell and Ryan Shallish added another but Wales trailed 15-14 to favourites England in a cut and thrust battle before Miles made a decisive break in the last minute of the game
The current Llandovery flanker looked clear but was caught by the England cover but able to off load in the tackle to his captain Jon Cudd (Morriston) - brother of Dragons flanker Nic Cudd
Cudd made the line to secure an historic 21-15 win over the old enemy
“It was a unforgettable experience and wonderful feeling to represent Wales on the other side of the world and help the boys win the World Cup” said Ysgol Dyffryn Aman product Miles.
“We arrived at Sydney underdogs but we managed to put one good performance in after another before the breathtaking finale.”
“The conditions were energy sapping but our fitness and courage took us through”
“Catrin and I got married just before the trip and to have her come along with me and see us win the world title made it a great honeymoon.”
Wales captain Jon Cudd spoke for all the players.
"To play against other nations has been brilliant and to be crowned World Deaf Rugby sevens champions is just amazing. A fantastic experience, which we hope will help promote and raise awareness of deaf rugby not only at home, but across the world."
“Many people ask how deaf you need to be, to be eligible to play deaf rugby. Well, you don't need to be profoundly or totally deaf to qualify. You only need a combined average hearing loss of 25db or more in both ears.”
“This is approximately a minimum hearing loss in both ears or a moderate hearing loss in one ear but normal hearing in the other. “
Miles – whose grandparents farmed Pen y Gar in Garnswllt for many years - was in the Ysgol Dyffryn Aman U16 side that won the 2004 Welsh Schools Sevens and got to the final of the All England Rosslyn Park Colts Sevens where they lost to a star studded Millfield side.
“Ospreys and Wales full back Dan Evans and current Merthyr scrum half Justin James were with me in that outstanding squad of players and that paid an important part in my sevens development.” said Miles.
Miles - currently undertaking a part time degree in construction management and technology at the Ammanford campus, Coleg Sir Gar - has also won Premiership Sevens titles with Llandovery and was back in full action at Church Bank on Saturday with a terrific tackling performance in the 31-24 win over local rivals Carmarthen Quins.