The Sydney Convicts finalised their pre-season preparations on the long road to the Bingham Cup in Dublin in June.

Facing the Maccabi team, it was the last chance for players to stake their claim and teams to be finalised for the crusade in Dublin.

After the success of the fantastic Rugger Bugger show at the Midnight Shift the boys turned their attention to the less glamorous side of the journey to Bingham and what they do best, playing rugby.

The big men of the Convicts took a major step over the weekend with Paul Corey and Ed Tobin stepping up their games in fierce live scrums for the first time. In the earlier periods the Macabi boys provided tough opposition for the Convicts.

It was a great start and we know we really need to work hard, Bingham isn’t too far away and we have a lot to do, Convicts team captain Charlie Winn said.

With a big season ahead it was a strong signal to the Convict boys about what needs to be done in the nine short weeks leading up to The Bingham Cup.

Facing months worth of conditioning to be done in such a short time the Convicts responded in a typically courageous Convict way.

Still, with many players out of position the Convicts levelled and matched the Maccabi boys with all they had left, guts and a fierce will to win.

With lots of -˜tinkering’ being done with the Convicts line-up on the day, Maccabi’s fitness and organisation took the honours, 20-5.

This is the third pre-season clash between these two clubs in the glibly dubbed -˜Streisand Cup.’ Maccabi, a Jewish-based club, also embodies the spirit of rugby as a means of breaking down barriers, stereotypes and forming bonds.

Next week the Convicts 1 face Easts 5th grade which is set to be a great task for the Convicts and a great way to face this year’s challenges head on.

Convicts 2 are up against the Maccabi boys again and are keen to have a second go at them.

There is a strong focus in the club looking to Dublin. Now it’s all about getting the teams ready. So with an eye on the prize the boys are focused on pushing themselves to the edge of endurance to ensure that they do their city and country proud.

Being the reigning champions after winning the Bingham Cup and plate in New York in 2006 the Convicts know that the road ahead is as tough as it will ever be. All opposition teams are sure to put in that extra bit of effort to knock off the champs.

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