A BRADFORD-based rugby union player is looking to raise funds to book her place on her first international trip with the England Deaf team for a tour of South Africa.

Michelle Holdsworth, of Low Moor, is targeting a place on the plane for her first international match for her country during a 10-day tour in May next year.

The 32-year-old, who has been playing the sport for the last eight years, and each member of the England squad has to raise £1,500 for the trip as the England deaf team is a registered charity aimed at getting deaf and hard of hearing men and women into playing the sport.

She lost the hearing in her left ear two years ago in an accident during a rugby match, but this has not deterred her from playing and she now lines up for Oldham after a previous spell with Halifax.

England deaf players each get selected for two or three matches each year. But the only other established deaf rugby teams are based in the Southern Hemisphere. To play these teams they have to travel and the charity is not able to finance the trip. Every player has been asked to raise the cash to cover the costs of flights, accommodation and meals.

Holdsworth, who plays as a prop for England, but a hooker for her club, said: "The fundraising is coming on.

"I'm trying anything and everything to raise money. It has all got to be paid for by January next year.

"I have been playing for the England defeat team since January 2017. I got into rugby after I suffered a break-up and needed an outlet. I have been selected for Yorkshire and Lancashire and for the North of England.

"I got my head stamped on in a ruck and lost my hearing in my left side. There was never any doubt that I would play again. Rugby saved me. It happened two years ago. Some of the players need interpreters.

"Some players have their own methods of signing on the pitch. Whether you can hear or not, you gel on the pitch.

"My message to people helping me out is I could not do it without them. I would really appreciate any amount anyone can offer to help fund this tour and thank them all for your ongoing support."

Go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michelle-holdsworth to make a donation.