The Sydney Convicts, Australia’s premier gay rugby team, made history on Sunday when they beat the Macquarie University Warriors in the first match played by a gay rugby team in a professional arena.
“It was a tough, physical match with both teams very hungry to win, but the Convicts poured their hearts and souls onto the field, fighting hard from start to finish,” said Convicts coach Charlie Winn. “I hope we’ve opened the door to similar games being held in the future around the world.”
The Convicts ultimately downed the Warriors 30 to 12 in a preview match (or “curtain-raiser”) planned as part of a larger campaign to tackle homophobia in sports. “This may be the first gay team invited to play a curtain-raiser, but I hope it’s not the last,” said Gareth Thomas, one of only two pro ruggers to come out as gay. “I think rugby can lead the way in changing sporting culture and I’m very hopeful we’ll see more games like this around the world.”
John Eales, considered one of the greatest players in the sport said he was “very proud of the Convicts for making history while also challenging stereotypes around gay men—sports can and must lead society and be welcoming for everyone.”