The Adelaide University Sharks played their first match over the last weekend of June.
The first XVs match was shared between Southern Suburbs and North Torrens Dragons, playing one half each.
It was the first match the team had played together since forming almost a year ago.
The Sharks are Adelaide’s first gay and inclusive rugby union club. The club provides a safe environment for physical and mental wellbeing through sport for the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies.
The team of 25, which falls under the Adelaide University Rugby Union club, didn’t take the game win but did take a win for inclusion and diversity in Australian sport.
The Sharks aim to dismantle stereotypes about the LGBTIQ+ community and their involvement in Australian sports. The club wants to give people who may identify as gay, bi or trans the ability to partake in activities that test their limits in a safe, inclusive environment.
“As expected, the first match was full of nerves,” says Mark Fitts, secretary of the committee.
“The support from spectators was encouraging and it was great to see them celebrating the successes of months of hard work the team had put in.”
The team is hopeful of building a large spectator base, which is looking promising after a great turn out to the first two matches.
The Sharks are excited for what else is in store for them in the future, with plans to compete in the next Purchas Cup, a transpacific rugby union tournament for Australian and New Zealand teams affiliated with the International Gay Rugby Association. They also hope to compete in The Bingham Cup 2021, which is the world cup for the global International Gay Rugby community.
The team were involved in the 2019 Feast Festival Pride March, and joined other interstate rugby teams at the 2020 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney.
The team’s main sponsor, SAMESH, helps to provide South Australia with support, education and training about Sexual Health and HIV for the LGBTIQ+ community. Other sponsors include PCCU, Riverside Farm and Camatta Lempens Lawyers.
The team are also welcoming new players at any fitness level, with Mark Fitts saying, “The hardest part is just enrolling.”
To show your support for the team and find out more, see below: