Watch: Bingham Cup Training Kicks Off With Emerald Warriors In Full Force

Bingham_140827_training_Quick-17Gay rugby players from around the world took part in a huge training session in Sydney today in the lead-up to the Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay rugby.

As a way of showing their support for ending homophobia in sports, players and coaches from Australia’s national team, the Wallabies, and Sydney’s state team, the NSW Waratahs led the session. It was a sweaty and muddy spectacle as 400 players from Ireland, the UK, Amsterdam, US, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries took part in the two-hour session on tackling, defending and passing the ball. 

The Bingham Cup, which begins in Sydney this Friday, is a gruelling tournament of intense rugby with 24 teams playing 6 games over three days. Almost 1000 players and supporters representing 30 gay and inclusive rugby clubs from 15 countries will be in Australia for the Biennial event, named after 9/11 hero Mark Bingham. The event is one of the largest 15-a-side rugby tournaments in the world. While most participants are gay, in the spirit of inclusivity, many teams also field straight players.

The Bingham Cup is currently held by the event hosts, the Sydney Convicts. However, one of the strong contenders to win the cup when the games begin is London’s Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby team.

There is intense rivalry among the international gay teams, particularly the gay meccas,  Sydney, London, New York and San Francisco as well as among the three Australian teams from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Interestingly, the Brisbane Hustlers, from the capital of Australia’s tropical Queensland state, beat Sydney earlier this year at the Australian Gay Rugby championship. The Hustlers are considered the team to watch closely during the tournament.

Many of the teams arrived in Sydney earlier this week and have been enjoying the city, including having drinks at the Opera House bar, watching a special theatre screening of ‘The Rugby Player’ (Mark Bingham documentary) and going on a tour of the city led by one of Australia’s most popular drag queens, Maxi Shield.

The Bingham Cup Grand Finals can be heard live online around the world. Colourful and experienced sport commentators will bring you all the action from 1am-7am, Irish Summer Time. You can access the live stream through binghamcup.com

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