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NEWS

Gay Australian rugby team strips down


Dylan Vox | June 20, 2007

Photo: Ewan Samway
Australia's first gay Rugby Union team, the Sydney Convicts has found a new and highly exciting way to help them raise money to compete at the gay Rugby World Cup next year. The guys on the team have decided to strip down to their bare butts and bits at the Rugger Bugger V party in Sydney and hope to raise enough money to make the trip to Dublin to defend their title.

The convicts were formed in 2004 as a sort of make shift team with the goal of presenting an alternative image of gay men to both the mainstream and the gay community. They also hoped to make football accessible to those who would otherwise be discouraged from playing rugby by perceived prejudice in the mainstream football community.

Photo: Ewan Samway Immediately the team took control of the field and began to win match after match against established "straight" clubs and soon began to make a name for themselves throughout the rugby community. They established the first Purchas Cup named after Convicts founder Andrew "Fuzz" Purchas, which became a successful competition in Australia.

That same year they entered the Mark Bingham Cup, as a dark horse and advanced over more established teams to earn a spot in the semifinals. The Bingham Cup is the biannual Gay World Cup Rugby event named after San Francisco Fog Player Mark Bingham who died during the 9/11 tragedy.

The Convicts returned in 2006 to the third Cup championship in New York and walked away winning both the Cup and Plate competitions. The boys on the team are hoping for a repeat victory at the fourth championship, which in 2008 will be held in Dublin Ireland, but first they have to get there.

Photo: Ewan Samway Each year the team holds a fundraising party event and the proceeds go to supporting the success of the team, who has brought great recognition to gay sports in Australia. The team manager Iain Jepsen told the Sydney Star Observer that this year, 10 of the Convicts' sexiest members will be shedding their garments during the Rugger Bugger V party.

"There will be a select group of players to cater for all tastes," he said. "Some smooth and muscular to the more Rubensesque, and some old favorites from our sellout show last year."

When asked about the appeal of the sexy rugby players, Jepsen replied, "There's always been the locker room thing, that, and the Sydney Convicts have that heady smell of jockstraps, liniment and Issey Miyake." The Full Monty type show hopefully will raise enough money to keep the successful team competing all year long, and one can imagine that the site of fully naked sweaty athletes rubbing against each other on stage would definitely do the trick.

Photo: Ewan Samway While the Rugger Bugger is a fun and sexy atmosphere where the guys can unwind, Jepsen points out that the team is mostly all about rugby and competing well against the other teams. The Convicts are committed to building a competitive, social and diverse club and welcome players regardless of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or playing experience.

The team is fourth in the overall standings and Jepsen did joke that they "wondered what the other teams we're going to play tell their wives and girlfriends," after getting beaten by a group of gay players.

If all goes well, spectators will get to see an eyeful of their favorite players, and the team will make the trip to Dublin where they will no doubt once again face their greatest rivals the San Francisco Fog, which is highly regarded as the best team from the United States and one of the best in the world.

Jepsen said he wasn't worried about the match up and insisted that his team had a "quiet confidence" going into any match. "Besides," he added, "if it came to a competition between the Convicts and the Fog as to who was better in the buff, we'd beat them hands down."

Whether you are a Rugby fan or not, there is no denying that that would be a match up that anyone would love to see. – Issued by Gay Link Content


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