Dublin-based LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby club the Emerald Warriors is travelling to Canada to compete in the Bingham Cup – the world’s largest amateur rugby union competition. The tournament which has oftentimes been branded as the ‘Gay Rugby World Cup’ is being held in Ottawa from August 13 to August 21, with matches starting on Thursday, August 18.
It is the 10th edition of the biennial competition, with approximately 1700 queer and two-spirit (2S) people expected to attend. The week-long occasion boasts a range of events and activities outside of games, including an international summit focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sport.
Teams from over 20 destinations will travel to the North American state, with the Emerald Warriors being the only representative from Ireland. The club brings two squads to the tournament, both of which have been logging countless hours of preparation in the form of warm-up matches and training sessions.
The Warriors also unveiled a set of new kits just in time for their travels, one green, one teal and one navy, all of which are sponsored by Bank of Ireland and produced by Kukri.
The Ottawa tournament was originally scheduled for 2020, but has been postponed until now as a result of Covid-19. The last Bingham Cup was held in Amsterdam in 2018, with the Sydney Convicts, the most successful LGBTQ+ rugby club in the world, emerging victorious.
This year’s competition will be the most inclusive yet, with wheelchair exhibition matches and mixed ability scrimmages during the finals all set to feature. While the Bingham Cup is a competition for male-identifying players, there is also a women’s tournament called the Amanda Cup.
The Emerald Warrior’s presence in the competition is a beacon of light in what has been a dark time for Irish LGBTQ+ rugby fans, players and allies alike. Just last week, the IRFU announced that Transgender women are to be banned from competing in the female contact category of the sport, following in the footsteps of the English RFU and World Rugby.
When the news was released, the Warriors issued a statement in response, saying the decision was “hugely disappointing and regressive”. They added that they “stand for inclusion, rugby for all, and in solidarity with the transgender community across Ireland and the world”.
EWRFC oppose IRFU ban of transgender women’s participation in women’s rugby. Read our statement below. We call on allies to support us, as we support those in the women’s game who oppose this policy and in calling for further research in this area #RugbyForAll pic.twitter.com/4fEGo2Pd0k
— Emerald Warriors RFC (@ewrfc) August 10, 2022
All of us here at GCN wish the Emerald Warriors the very best of luck.
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