South Australia’s first gay and inclusive rugby team the Adelaide University Sharks has set its sights on the Bingham Cup after making their debut at the weekend.
Last year Adelaide University Rugby, the state’s oldest rugby club, launched the first gay and inclusive male rugby team.
And on Saturday, the team made it onto the field for their first two matches against the Southern Suburbs and North Torrens Rugby Union Clubs.
Player Cameron Forster told ABC News he was one of the first to join the new team.
“The reason I gave [rugby] up was because it didn’t feel like it was an inclusive environment. I didn’t feel like I belonged,” he said.
“It really feels great to join a sports team where I feel like I have a sense of purpose and belonging.”
Sharks coordinator Peter Stephen said they want to provide all players with a safe and inclusive playing environment.
“It’s about being involved in a team and having that camaraderie that comes through with being in a like-minded community, while knowing you can be yourself and still have that sporting prowess,” he told the Advertiser.
Stephen said a 2015 Monash University study found “alarmingly high” dropout rates of gay players in contact sports.
“Growing up here in SA, the only vision we had for it here was of the big guys playing at a national or international level.
“I quickly wrote myself out of that environment… but rugby is for all shapes and sizes.
“We’re hoping that gay and inclusive sports will expand to other football codes in South Australia too.”
Adelaide University Sharks set their sights on gay rugby’s Bingham Cup
The Adelaide University Sharks are Australia’s fifth gay and inclusive rugby club.
They join the Brisbane Hustlers, Sydney Convicts, Melbourne Chargers, and Perth Rams.
With the Sharks, South Australian players can now aspire to compete in our national and international gay rugby tournaments.
The Purchas Cup brings the Australian gay rugby teams together every two years.
Every other year, the teams join more than 180 others in the World Cup of gay rugby, the Bingham Cup.
The Sharks say they hope to qualify for the Bingham Cup, which Canadian city Ottawa is hosting next.
In March, the 2020 Bingham Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However organisers later announced Ottawa will still host the Cup on the rescheduled date of August 2022.
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