RIC Ballam and Daniel Bean from the Colwyn Bay Stingrays Mixed Ability Rugby were honoured to be selected to play for the Mixed Ability Invitational side (MARIs) which took on Swansea Gladiators Mixed Ability Team at the Principality Stadium.

MARIs are part of the international mixed ability sports movement which encourages equal participation in sport by breaking down barriers, promoting inclusivity, and promoting health and wellbeing.

Mixed ability rugby is not a disability sport, but it provides an opportunity for all players of different capabilities, no matter their circumstance.

The focus of the game is about enjoyment, participation, recreation and inclusion with everyone getting game time.

Established in 2021, the MARIs were created to bring coaches and players together from around the world to play exhibition matches and Ric and Dan were part of the squad which included members from across the UK.


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Since the creation of the MARIs, they have always dreamt of growing to become a club with a long history of giving opportunities, to players of the mixed ability rugby.

And here they were, playing against the oldest mixed ability rugby club in the world, on their 30th anniversary, at the home of Welsh rugby, the Principality Stadium.

Helping out with the coaching team for MARIs was former Wales Women’s Captain Rachel Taylor and Hannah Hughes, current Caernarfon Ladies player, who are both heavily involved with the Colwyn Bay Stingrays.

MARI won the match at the Principality Stadium 31-24 ,an impressive achievement considering they had only one training session together at the Cardiff Arms Park the day before.

More importantly, the squad brought together people from all walks of life in a safe environment where the virtues of rugby were to the fore with the team spirit second to none.

Mixed ability rugby has grown massively in Wales and the game between MARIs and Gladiators is not only a birthday party, but also a celebration of the growth of the game.

Wales have now nine clubs across Wales catering for mixed ability players.

Hannah said: “It was an honour to be asked to be part of the coaching team for this historic occasion and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be part of an amazing rugby family.

“It was so special to meet new people and support them and their families on and off the field and I was proud to be representing the MARIs.

“Watching Rugby Ready Ric and Disco Dan play their first full contact rugby at Principality Stadium with a big smile on their faces is what mixed ability rugby is all about.

“I would like to thank Cread Cyf, MAD Sound and Lighting, Rygbi 7/11 for sponsoring the Colwyn Bay Stingrays representation, allowing us to be part of an unforgettable occasion.

“We hope that many more players from Colwyn Bay Stingrays will get to represent the MARIs in the future.

If anyone would be interested to have a go at mixed ability rugby, the Colwyn Bay Stingrays Mixed Ability team train once a month at Colwyn Bay Rugby Club and always welcome new players aged 16+.

Follow them on Twitter at @StingraysMAR or email Hannah Hughes hughes6h@gllm.ac.uk for further details.