Defender Trailblazers

Defender Trailblazers

Defender Trailblazers – those who embrace the impossible to change the face of rugby, from overcoming disability to tackling discrimination


Defender Trailblazers –individuals who represent the very best of rugby and inspire others to be capable of great things. 6 Defender Trailblazers have been identified – a group of inspiring individuals who, like Defender, encourage others to do exceptional things and strive to achieve more in a world full of potential.

Each has demonstrated immense courage, inner strength and determination in the face of adversity. The Defender Trailblazers have been immortalised in statue form, made with steel reclaimed from the vehicle chassis production process using 3D scanning technology.

The Defender Trailblazers are:

  • Ryuichi Nagayama: the oldest active member of Fuwaku Rugby Club is a 9src-year-old practicing doctor who lives for the sport. He and his teammates are tackling ageism and he intends to play until he is physically unable to take to the pitch. Ryuichi explains his mindset, by asking: “Without rugby, what would I become?”
  • Cyril Leroy: founder of Les Gaillards, the first LGBT+ friendly rugby club in France, which celebrates its 2srcth anniversary in 2src23. The club brings together players of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, origins and sporting backgrounds and unites around the values of rugby.
  • Jacob Pickering: Jacob, 14, was born without his left forearm due to congenital upper limb deficiency, but he hasn’t let this stop him playing the game he loves. He began playing at the age of nine and relishes the physical challenge – he loves tackling.
  • Zainab Alema: a female Muslim rugby player, Zainab runs Muslimah Rugby, a communi

…. to be continued
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