The 2010 Bingham Cup will be held in Minneapolis from June 17-20. The Australian contingent — as if you haven’t noticed, with all the near-naked fundraising action going on in in the form of Rugger Bugger events in the past few months — is the Sydney Convicts rugby club.

The club is heading over to defend its title, having won the Cup last year.

“We’ve been training hard, although weather has been a problem — the recent rain has closed down our fields for the last couple of weeks,” team member Andrew Purchas told Sydney Star Observer.

Purchas was the previous club president and is currently spearheading the club’s bid to host the Bingham Cup in Sydney in 2012.

The Convicts are sending over a full squad of around 50 players, split into two teams, and around 15 support staff.

Of course, the club is seldom seen without its fabulous drag mascot Maxi Shield, but a lack of funds has meant that Maxi hasn’t yet secured a ticket to Minneapolis. The Convicts are mounting a last-minute fundraising drive to get her there.

“We’ve only just discovered that she was looking unable to join us. So we’re having a ‘Get Maxi to Minne’ drive,” Purchas said.

“She’s been so supportive of us since we started, so it’d be such a shame if she couldn’t make it.”

Once they arrive in the Minnesotan city, the squad will have a few days to get accustomed to their new environemnt and get in some last-minute training. The tournament will then be played across three days, with each team generally playing two games per day.

While Purchas said there was friendliness between all the teams, he admitted there was rivalry between the Convicts and their main competition, the San Francisco Fog.

“There’s certainly a rivalry there, because both of us have won it twice and this’ll be the fifth tournament — we’re definitely both out to win our third.”

While the Convicts will be playing at their best on the other side of the world, Purchas said fans and loved ones back home can still send their support.

“They can go to the Facebook page or our website, where we’ll be providing updates while we’re over there, and people can leave comments and messages of support which the boys will check while we’re over there.”

info: www.binghamcup.com and ww.sydneyconvicts.org

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