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ITM Cup
Deaf rugby player debuts for Southland Stags
ESPN Staff
August 1, 2014

Morgan Mitchell will make his debut for New Zealand's Southland Stags against Mid Canterbury in Oamaru on Saturday.

Nothing remarkable about that: 21-year-old Southlander makes debut for Stags in pre-season run-out. But Morgan Mitchell is deaf, and his progress highlights that disability need not kill dreams.

"To be honest I've now got self belief,'' Mitchell told Fairfax Media in New Zealand. ''I can go tell people nothing is impossible, you've just got to have self-belief. I was in a bit of a negative mood because I always thought my deafness held me back from making teams. Now I can tell people it can happen.''

Mitchell highlighted the issues he faces while unable to use his hearing aid on the pitch, saying "I can hear the odd whistle, but I just can't hear if anybody is behind me to be honest".

Mitchell said he learned to lip read at a young age but players "have basically got to be front on" for him to use that skill while playing rugby. He said that "Rugby Southland is trying to sort me out a wee cap" in order for him to wear his hearing aid during matches.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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