Despite being 12 months away, Australia’s first gay rugby team, the Sydney Convicts, have already set their sights on defending their world number three ranking at the 2010 Bingham Cup.

The club has wasted no time in the international off year and will again look to field two Sydney squads in 2009.

The Convicts are currently in training and hope the 2009 season will serve as preparation for next year’s biennial international gay rugby clash.

The Bingham Cup is an international rugby competition named in memory of Mark Bingham, a victim of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

Bingham was a keen rugby player and played for gay and bisexual rugby team, the San Francisco Fog.

New club president Charlie Winn said the Convicts will not rest on their laurels with last year’s success.

We’ve started training already, concentrating on skills and fitness, he said. The standard of [Bingham Cup] competition is always improving so we will need to be at our peak to retain our title, team manager Iain Jepsen said of the team’s international ambitions.

The Convicts will play in the Bondi Tens tournament this Friday and Saturday at their home ground against teams from the Navy and the NSW Fire Brigade.

The Convicts annual open day is on Sunday, February 22 at their home ground in Manion Avenue, Rose Bay. Newcomers are encouraged to drop by for beer, sausages and a game of rugby.

info: www.sydneyconvicts.org or drop into the Convict’s stand at Fair Day.

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