ACT Veterans Rugby Club to host first Pride rugby match this weekend

Thu, Nov 16, 2023, 12:00 AM
by ACT Veterans Rugby Club

The ACT Veterans Rugby Club (the Vets) will be hosting its first Pride rugby match on Saturday 18 November 2023 as part of Canberra's annual SpringOUT Festival.

The game will take the form of an ACT Vets versus Barbarians (invitational) Pride Team, played as a social game of rugby under the Vets' modified rules. Even though we are an over 35s club, younger invited players are welcome to join in.Key details for the day are:

  • Date: Saturday, 18 November 2023, during the LGBTIO+ SpringOUT Festival
  • Location: Portsea Oval, Royal Military College (RMC) Duntroon ACT
  • Time: From 1pm with the match kicking off at 2:00pm
  • Pride Cup function at the Mercure Hotel, Ainslie ACT

This will be the first Pride game in ACT Rugby history, and serves as a clear message of inclusion and support for the LGBTQIA+ community in Canberra that “Rugby is for everyone”. Former Brumbies and Wallabies star, Senator David Pocock will be lending his support and is looking forward to attending the game.

The inspiration for the inaugural event, came from Bob Lees, one of the vets’ long-standing members. Bob has played rugby with the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, Australia’s first gay and inclusive Rugby Union club. Including touring with the Convicts, at three Bingham Cups (the gay world rugby cup), in Sydney 2014, Amsterdam 2018 and Ottawa 2022. Rome is hosting Bingham 2024. Bob says: “Rugby helps to break down stereotypes”.

The Barbarians Pride Team will be made up of players from the Sydney Convicts, various Australian Defence Force personnel, and local ACT rugby players.

SpringOUT Committee President, Lynne O'Brien says “SpringOUT is excited to have the first ever Pride rugby game, in ACT history, as part of our festival. Well done ACT Veterans Rugby Club. The Pride game highlights the importance of inclusive sport, providing roles models and a clear message of support for LGBTQIA+ community”.

The Vets have brought an array of local businesses onboard to support and sponsor the event, the proceeds from which will be donated to two local charities.Thanks to our major sponsor Paladin Risk Management Services, $4,000 will be donated to SpringOUT.

The Vets will also be raising money through an online auctionfor one of Sam Kerr's Nike boots - signed and framed (also donated by Paladin), and a raffle at the event. There will also be plenty of food and refreshments available for spectators. The proceeds of all these, will be donated to DiversityACT.

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