Local LGBT Rugby team, Bristol Bisons have received a surprise as part of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.
Bristol Bisons RFC players, arriving at Clifton Rugby Club to play in a scheduled league fixture against fellow inclusive team Northampton Outlaws RFC, were greeted by the surprise sight of England Rugby legends Greenwood and Cohen waiting to meet them in the changing room.
The 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning duo presented the squad with a brand-new match kit, featuring Aviva Pride and Stonewall as kit sponsors, as well as Rainbow Laces for their boots, before announcing they would be playing in the match. The surprise formed part of Aviva’s ongoing commitment to supporting Rainbow Laces, the campaign run by LGBT charity Stonewall to promote LGBT inclusion in sport.
Talking about the surprise, Josh Deuchars, Bristol Bisons RFC Chairman, told Sky Sports News “Having Aviva support us and show what inclusive rugby clubs are about is fantastic. To surprise the boys with three rugby legends in Ben, Will and Nigel was the cherry on the cake and it’s a day we’ll all remember.”
The day became even more surreal for both teams after Greenwood revealed that top international referee Owens would be the man taking charge of the fixture, fresh from officiating at Twickenham the previous day. Former winger Cohen had a stint playing for both Bisons and Outlaws during the game, before scoring a try with the final play of the day to seal a 29-29 draw for the home side thanks to Greenwood’s conversion.
Established in 2005, Bristol Bisons are the South West’s only inclusive and gay-friendly rugby team, and one of 11 recognised clubs who currently play in the UK. They offer an open and welcoming environment to players and supporters of all abilities and backgrounds in Bristol, Somerset and South Gloucestershire and play a crucial role in the local LGBT community.
Find out more about the Bisons on their website.