Gay and inclusive rugby club the Sydney Convicts took out the Bingham Cup on the weekend, and have invited other rugby clubs including the Wallabies to help them celebrate the win.
Up against more than 2500 rugby players in Amsterdam for the gay world championship, the Convicts have now won the Bingham Cup five times.
“For many boys in the squad it was their first ever Bingham Cup and they put their hearts and bodies out on the field to bring home the Bingham Shield,” said player Eliot Hastie.
The Convicts have extended an invitation to their Australian rugby allies to join them in celebrating the Bingham Cup victory, including Israel Folau’s team the Wallabies.
“We are celebrating our amazing victory in Amsterdam for now, but when we get home, our efforts will continue to make rugby union a more inclusive and welcoming community,” said Convicts president Don Rose.
“To that end, we’ll extend invitations to our longtime allies at Rugby Australia, the Wallabies and the Waratahs, to help us celebrate when we bring the cup back to Sydney.”
Wallabies star fullback Folau, often called Australia’s best rugby player, has stirred controversy with a series of social media messages since last year, most notably an Instagram post declaring that gay people were destined for hell if they did not “repent”.
Folau, who once appeared on the cover of Star Observer to support the Bingham Cup, has since said he is not homophobic.
This year’s cup was bigger than ever, with 72 of the best gay and inclusive teams from around the world competing.
“The number of gay and inclusive rugby teams around the world has grown dramatically in the past four years, since we hosted the Bingham Cup in Sydney in 2014,” said Convicts founder and chairman of International Gay Rugby, Andrew Purchas.
“There has been a 50 per cent increase in clubs, which means winning the cup and the shield was a particularly hard battle this time for both teams.”
“The Convicts are proud to bring home to Sydney both the Bingham Cup and Shield after a hard tournament of amazing rugby from every boy there,” said Hastie.
Many sporting bodies are aiming to improve inclusivity by fighting homophobia and transphobia in sports that have long alienated LGBTI people.
Previous research has revealed that almost three quarters of teenagers in sport had heard teammates use homophobic slurs in the past fortnight.