Rugby greats toast Convicts success
Australian rugby union royalty as well as a dash of Olympic greatness was at hand to help celebrate the Sydney Convicts recent Bingham Cup victory at a special welcome home function at Darlinghurst last night.
Newly-retired Waratahs and Wallaby captain Phil Waugh was joined as host for the evening by World Cup winning captain Nick Farr-Jones as well as Wallaby great Mark Ella, with Commonwealth gold-medal winning hurdler, Jane Flemming, one of the many faces inside Kinsellas to toast the Convicts’ capture of the gay rugby union World Cup in early June.
Farr-Jones, captain of Australia’s 1991 World Cup winning side as well as the current chairman of NSW Rugby, told the packed crowd rugby traditionally accommodated all sorts of bodies and was a sport accepting of all people.
“It’s one of the very special things of rugby – diversity and inclusiveness,” Farr-Jones said.
Ella, widely considered as one of the most talented to have ever played the sport, said it was an honour for him to be addressing the Convicts.
“I am glad to say indigenous players had a big part in the Convicts’ success,” he said to loud applause.
Waugh meanwhile told SX that the sport’s governing bodies, NSW Rugby and the Australian Rugby Union, were well aware of the Convicts success at Manchester.
“They’ve achieved a lot really by winning the gay World Cup,” he said. “I think it’s great for rugby.”
Having retired in 2011 to take up a position in the banking industry, Waugh agreed with Farr-Jones when it came to the appeal of rugby.
“If you talk about rugby as a sport I think it’s one of the most diverse in terms of body shapes and sizes can play rugby, and obviously very accepting of all sexual preferences as well.”
“Rugby is one of those sports that’s played by everyone and really accepting of everyone, which is really important,” he told SX.
“I think people will be surprised how accepting the rugby guys are of other people’s sexual preferences. It’s not a big deal at all.”
The Convicts are currently bidding unopposed to hold the next Bingham Cup in Sydney in 2014.