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Rugby tournament highlights gay rights in Randburg

PRAEGVILLE – Rugby players go the distance for gay rights at Diggers Rugby Club.

Gay rights and safe spaces in rugby were highlighted at the first inclusive Tag Rugby Tournament.

South Africa’s first gay and inclusive competitive rugby side, the Jozi Cats, hosted the event at Diggers Rugby Club on Human Rights Day, 21 March, along with the South African Human Rights Commission.

Sibu Maloya scores the first try for the Misfits against the Jozi Cats.


Sibu Maloya puts the first points on the scoreboard for Misfits.

A total of 12 teams from clubs across Joburg showed up in support, and played tag and full contact rugby matches throughout the day.

The spokesperson for the commission, Gail Smith addressed the crowd during a break in proceedings, stressing that to be gay was not just a choice, it was a human right.

“We need to protect the rights of others, that is also our responsibility,” she said.

Jozi Cats communications manager, Anthony Seger then discussed how awareness was being raised, not just of gay rights, but also of marginalised groups that were victimised as well.

“We started just over two years ago as a bunch of gay guys who just wanted to learn rugby,” he said.

“Now we have grown into a contact rugby club as well as a touch rugby club. Anyone is welcome to become a member.”


The flags fly high at the Tag Rugby Tournament.


Charl van Helsdingen of Jozi Cats runs onto the field for a game.


Paul Gordon of FSU plays at the Tag Rugby Tournament.


These speeches were followed by drag diva, Shenay O’Brien singing the national anthem, and then a full contact exhibition match between Jozi Cats and Misfits, a Diggers Rugby Club team.

The two sides played a tough, physical game but Misfits controlled more possession than their opponents and slipped through gaps in the defence one too many times to earn a 17–5 win.

Proceeds from the day will be given to the Khayelitsha Cats rugby side in the Western Cape.


Bradley van Niekerk looks for a final pass before scoring a try for FSU.


Chad Poley leads the Jozi Cats onto the field.


A lineout is won by Jozi Cats.


Terence Reader plays tag rugby for the team, FSU.


Drag diva, Shenay O’Brien sings the national anthem.


South African Human Rights Commission spokesperson, Gail Smith tells the crowd being gay is a human right.


Sibu Maloya breaks away to score the first try for Misfits. Behind him, Dale Williams of Jozi Cats tries in vain to prevent the try.


The exhibition match between Jozi Cats and Misfits is a tough, physical encounter.


Drag diva, Shenay O’Brien sings the national anthem at the tournament.


Details: Diggers Rugby Club seniors@diggersrugby.co.za; 083 644 5058.

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