Sydney suburbs provide ‘safe space’ for gay rugby players


They play serious rugby, train twice a week, heckle from the sidelines, and participate in ‘boat races’ – a post-match duel against the opposing team to determine who can scull cans of beer the fastest. From the outside, they are an unremarkable team. But peel back the club’s facade and you find something different: an inclusive, welcoming and tightknit community known as the Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union team. “It’s a safe space that has given me the opportunity to play team sport, that’s something I never thought I’d ever do in my life,” says Convicts player and Aboriginal man Will Cooper, wearing the team’s blue and white striped jersey.

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