The Sydney Convicts

For the first time in the world a gay rugby team will play as part of a major professional rugby event this weekend.

The gay Sydney Convicts will take on Macquarie University in a curtain raiser match ahead of the Super Rugby Round 17 clash between NSW Waratahs and the Highlanders on Sunday.

Sydney Convicts president Dave Whitaker said that the team is “very excited and proud to be the first gay and inclusive rugby team to be invited to play as part of an elite level rugby match.”

He added: “We hope this game helps to challenge these misconceptions while also raising awareness that homophobia in sport is still a major issue and gay people often still feel unwelcome.”

Sydney Convicts player Jason Fowler, who played with Macquarie University prior to joining the gay and inclusive rugby team, said that many of his former teammates at Macquarie University didn’t find out he was gay until he played against them as a Sydney Convict.

“Playing at Allianz is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the entire team is extremely proud and excited to be making history,” said Fowler. “For me, I’m amazed by how my life has come full circle. Just two years ago I was afraid to come out to my teammates, now I’m playing against them on a gay rugby team as part of a professional sporting event.”

Sunday’s event will also include the screening of a 30-second anti-homophobia TV advert featuring many well-known athletes in Australian sport at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium. The Waratahs will also run a feature article in the game program and include a panel discussion on homophobia in sport as part of their pre-game show.

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