Scottish gay inclusive rugby squad reveals new kit ahead of major tournament
Scotland’s oldest gay-inclusive rugby club has revealed a new sponsorship deal as it gets set to compete in Europe’s largest LGBT+ inclusive tournament.
Standard Life Aberdeen’s LGBT+ inclusion group, known as the Lighthouse Network, is the new shirt sponsors of the Caledonian Thebans RFC.
The club unveiled its new kit at Murrayfield BT Stadium last night (Thursday, 30th May) before its departure to Dublin to represent Scotland in the Union Cup.
Luke Fenton, chairman of Caledonian Thebans said: “We are delighted to have secured sponsorship from a network that shares our values. For us, rugby is more than just a game, it is great for mental and physical health and it gives people an opportunity to enjoy a good way of living.
"It delivers a sense of belonging and helps nurture a mutual understanding and responsibility towards others, which breaks down prejudices within sport.
“Inclusive rugby continues to grow and to have the support of Standard Life Aberdeen’s Lighthouse Network means that we can continue to help more people get into the sport and let them play and train, and that is invaluable.”
Lynne Connolly, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Standard Life Aberdeen added: “Our Lighthouse Network exists to enable all Standard Life Aberdeen colleagues to be themselves at work and to promote inclusion both in and outside of the working environment.
We are therefore proud to be associated with The Caledonian Thebans, a club that is flying the flag for equality and inclusion both at home and overseas and has achieved a number of successes along the way. We wish them success at the Union Cup and in the coming season.”
With over 70 players and plans for a women’s team in the pipeline, the Edinburgh club offers twice-weekly coaching sessions and regular matches against both mainstream and inclusive clubs and strives to develop confident players and encourages participation in rugby from groups who may have been under-represented in the sport.
Caledonian Thebans regularly compete on the international circuit, picking up silverware along the way, and looking ahead the side will be flying the Lighthouse Network flag by jetting out to Ottawa in Canada in 2020 for the Bingham Cup, the largest inclusive tournament for rugby in the world.
But before that the focus is firmly on success at the two-day Union Cup which takes place in Dublin from June 8 when Caledonian Thebans will be one of 45 teams from 15 countries competing.
Ahead of the club’s departure, Luke added: "This year we have an increased number of players, and more inexperienced players, but we have spent a lot of time training hard and we feel that our guys are up to the task and will be coming home from Dublin with silverware.
“Aside from trophies, our goal is for everyone to enjoy rugby in a prejudice-free environment, and we are proud of our supportive, diverse and social team. Since the club’s formation 17 years ago we’ve been pushing boundaries on and off the pitch to provide a welcoming environment for all who want to play rugby. “
Janine Flynn of Standard Life Aberdeen’s Lighthouse Network finished: “The Lighthouse Network is proud to be associated with the Caledonian Thebans which adds to our support of Pride Edinburgh in June. Together both sponsorships will go a long way in helping to promote further inclusivity in the workplace where people can be themselves. We look forward to a successful partnership.
Lighthouse’s aim is to enable all Standard Life Aberdeen employees to be themselves at work. It supports LGBT+ individuals in their working lives by promoting further inclusion in the workplace through events, networking, training and peer-to-peer support. The Lighthouse Network has over 400 members and operates globally across Standard Life Aberdeen’s offices around the world.