Scotland will be represented at an international rugby tournament in Dublin this weekend, with rugby lovers heading from across the country to play against teams from around Europe!
Players from Glasgow Alphas, Caledonian Thebans, Aberdeen Taexali and Dunfermline Knights are heading to Ireland to compete in the 2019 Union Cup.
The 2-day rugby festival includes an expected 45 teams from 15 different countries competing in this biennial competition. The Union Cup also features, for the first time, a women’s tournament.
Scotland’s inclusive rugby teams are affiliated to International Gay Rugby (IGR), the body which promotes inclusion and diversity in the sport around the world.
We caught up with each of the teams sending reps to the Union Cup this year, starting with Glasgow’s finest boys in black – the Alphas! A team spokesperson told us:
“The Glasgow Alphas are really excited about joining all other Scottish teams at this year’s Union Cup. We’ve been working really hard all season to get in shape and feel we have a really good chance to bring some silverware home.”
“This is the first year we’re playing as the Alphas and are really honoured to have Aberdeen Taexali playing alongside us.”
Inclusive rugby recently found a foothold in the North East of Scotland too. Bryan Sinclair, founder of the Aberdeen Taexali team, shared his thoughts ahead of the tournament:
“As a club, the Union Cup is a way for us to support the other IGR teams that are playing and to be able to make connections with can help Aberdeen Taexali develop and grow in the future. We have had such support from all the Scottish IGR teams and Grant Skene, the Taexali coach, will be playing for the Alphas over in Dublin.”
“The Union Cup is a celebration of rugby, diversity, inclusion and friendship and we are excited to be part of it. We hope in 2 years time we’ll be there with a full Aberdeen Taexali team.”
And there’s one team heading to Dublin that’s no stranger to competition. Formed in 2002, the Caledonian Thebans are Scotland’s longest running gay-inclusive rugby team. The side recently unveiled their new kit with sponsors including Standard Life Aberdeen and SX.
Chairman, Luke Fenton, said:
“This will be the Caledonian Thebans 8th Union Cup and we couldn’t be more excited! After a great year of growth and development we are eager to show off how far we’ve come as a team, playing with IGR always has a very special buzz to it and we are so honoured to be part of the community.”
Meanwhile, one of the newer teams is the Fife-based Dunfermline Knights and one of it’s Co-Founders (and a Knights player) Robert Forrester, said:
“I’m so very proud of this amazing team, the boys started training for the first time in August 2018 – some of us never having held a rugby ball in our lives and here we are on our way to Dublin to take part in the Union Cup with fellow European teams.”
“Dunfermline RFC is the first rugby club in the world to form an IGR team from it’s existing players – a truly remarkable team I am so very proud to be a member of.”
Robert also recently picked up Sports Person of the Year at the inaugural Proud Scotland Awards held in Glasgow on 1st June.
You can follow the progress of Scotland’s teams taking part on their individual social media accounts or the Union Cup Facebook page here.
From everyone at Pink Saltire we’re wishing the best of luck to all our fantastic players and staff heading to Dublin!!