With Mardi Gras Fair Day coming up on Sunday, February 12, many of Sydney’s LGBTI sporting clubs are preparing for one of their strongest recruitment days of the year.

It’s no different for the Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club, who are already stuck into training for 2012 despite being out of season. Players recently started some beach training on Bondi (pictured) to prepare themselves for hitting the fields later in the year.

There’s a reason for this particularly early start to the training year. In May, the Convicts will send two teams to Manchester to compete in the Bingham Cup Tournament. It will be the Convicts’ fifth Bingham, and they’ll be looking to win their third championship in both grades of competition.

“We were thrilled to win the second-grade trophy, the Bingham Bowl, in 2010 in Minneapolis,” Convicts representative Erik Denison said.

“But our strongest side narrowly missed out on the big prize, the Bingham Cup, in the dying seconds of the grand final. That loss hurt and we are determined to win the Cup back and retain the Bowl.

“We need to make the most of the off-season and make sure our guys are fit and ready to play at the highest level when they get to Manchester.”

This season will be the Convicts’ ninth and with many older players approaching retirement from the game, 2012 is a pivotal year for the club in terms of recruitment.

“Fresh blood is very much needed,” Denison said.

“We continue to look for new players and now is a great time to join the Convicts and travel the world.”

Visit the Convicts stall on Fair Day for information on how to get involved in what Denison said will be a busy few months ahead for the club, looking past the Mardi Gras madness.

“We also have brilliant social nights like New Players Night, Convicts Open Day, Easter Booty Camp and Trivia night. There will also be a Rugger Bugger in May before we jet off to Manchester to give the community a chance to come out and support the team,” he said.

“We urge the community to get involved in helping us bring home the trophies.”

INFO: www.sydneyconvicts.org

PICTURED: Convicts players Fernando Peres and Jay Claydon.

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