Dublin To Host Gay Rugby World Cup

Gay SportsIreland has won the scrum to host the next gay rugby world cup in 2008. The biennial competition was awarded to Dublin at a meeting in Seattle of representatives from 30 countries. Paris and Sydney had been Ireland’s main rivals to host the Bingham Cup, a three-day competition.
Richie Whyte, the tournament director, said beating off Paris and Sydney was a huge achievement. “We had to compete with the natural attractions of two of the world’s greatest cities,” he said. Philip Browne, the chief executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), sent a message of support to the organising committee yesterday.
Nick Costello of the Emerald Warriors, Ireland’s first gay rugby team, formed in 2003, says about 2,000 players and supporters will visit Dublin. “It’s good news for rugby, the gay community and the city.”
The competition will be held in Dublin City University’s campus in Glasnevin in June 2008. “DCU is large enough to host an international event, but it has a campus feel about it, so it should generate a buzz,” Costello said.
The Emerald Warriors, still the country’s only gay team, represented Ireland in the last two tournaments. The 35-strong squad trains in Tallaght and is raising funds for a clubhouse.
The IRFU, which will provide all the match officials for the world cup, has credited the team with adding a “much needed vibrancy” to the game. The Warriors have also been praised for helping to transform the image of rugby from a sport solely for the “professional, macho middle classes”.
Costello said: “The club is gay-friendly but not exclusively gay.”
Paul O’Connor, formerly of Lansdowne and Munster, was the first high-profile rugby player to “come out” in 2001. “Ultimately, people were very supportive,” he said after his retirement.
from The Sunday Times


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