"As this amazing year
of 2014 draws to a close, I wanted to take time to
thank everyone for all of their hard work, recognise
some of the amazing achievements and also look forward
to some of the things to come in 2015. 2014 was an
amazing year all around for IGR as an organisation,
as well as our member clubs. While there were many
different achievements across the globe, I wanted
to call out a few really significant things this from
Bingham Cup 2014
First of all, I want to call out Bingham Cup 2014,
extremely well organised and hosted by the Sydney
Convicts. Over the last weekend in August, IGR teams
descended on Sydney for a week of fun, frivolity,
rugby and a hell of a lot of rain. On the pitch, we
saw some huge improvement in the level of rugby played
on the pitch – including some highly competitive
semi-final matches in all levels of the tournament.
The event on the pitch involved quite a few combined
teams, showing that the spirit of rugby can bring
people together to be competitive on the pitch –
even with minimal time together.
Off the pitch, this tournament can be marked by the
high level of community involvement, corporate level
sponsorship from Commonwealth Bank and EY, and the
international media presence – increasing the
level of visibility of what our member clubs, players
and supporters do for our mission. We were honoured
by visits from the Governor-General of Australia,
the Governor of New South Wales, the Irish and US
Ambassadors to Australia and other community and business
leaders to the tournament.
Also, from the worldwide Rugby community, we continue
to have ground breaking partnership with the Australia
Rugby Union’s Mike Hawker, Chairman and Bill
Pulver, CEO. Their work with Fuzz and our partnership
led to the first combined multi-sport Anti-Homophobia
framework in Australia and the first letter of support
from Brett Gosper, CEO of the International Rugby
Board (now, World Rugby) for the Bingham Cup. This
partnership and recognition from World Rugby is something
that we can continue to build on in the future.
I want to specially recognise Fuzz Purchas, Duncan
MacGregor and Chris Mowbray of the Sydney Convicts
for their dedication, organisation and ability to
create a great experience for everyone who attended.
I am extremely proud of the event and cannot thank
them enough for their work and commitment.
The results were as follows:
Bingham Cup – Sydney Convicts A
Bingham Plate – Melbourne Chargers A
Bingham Bowl – New Zealand Falcons
Bingham Shield – Sydney Convicts C
Hoagland Cup – Philadelphia Gryphons
Hoagland Vase – Southern US BaaBaas
StandUp Foundation Team of the Tournament –
Player of the Tournament – Jeffrey Sione, New
Regional Tournaments and League play
Our regional tournament calendar continues to grow
with a significant addition this year to the docket.
These events allow for members of our community to
get together for competition on a more regular basis
– while focusing on skills development. The
Berlin Bruisers Bash About included a two day clinic
and tournament, attended by 200 rugby players from
throughout Europe along with our very own Gareth Thomas.
Special thanks to Adam Wide and his team for putting
on a world class event very shortly after their organisation
in 2012. There was also the return of the Cardiff
7’s tournament and the Les Gaillards 10th Anniversary
tournament in Paris. Organisationally, we look forward
to 2015’s Union Cup in Brussels, Magnitude 15.15s
in Seattle, Combustion in Chicago, Purchas Cup in
New Zealand, the Stockholm Eurogames and the other
annual tournaments and clinics.
Also, the Washington Renegades were the first IGR
club to make the USA Rugby Division 3 National Championships,
having won the Mid Atlantic Conference Division III
Championship. We are very proud of the achievements
of the Renegades and look forward to what they can
continue to achieve in the future.
Organisation and Bingham Cup 2016 Bidding
This was a pretty big year for IGR as an organisation.
Including the beginning of the rebrand from IGRAB
to IGR, we also collaborated well to achieve a much
better foundation to achieve more in the future. Our
membership increased to 52 clubs, including the addition
of teams in New Zealand, Argentina and Spain and the
growth of our existing clubs in their local areas
and markets. This is a very exciting time with membership
and the potential expansion of our mission throughout
Some of the unsung heroes of the organisation are
the Regional Representatives, who in their capacity
assist the development of IGR clubs and participate
in the operations of rugby tournaments and events
throughout the globe – including the Tournament
Liaison Committee for Bingham Cup 2014. I want to
thank Matthew Whiteley, Gus Ventura, Remo Calzoni,
Jeremy Dykes, Kory Salisbury, William Howell, Iggy
Samuel-Smith, Ben Lancken and Gregory Hanson for all
of their hard work in providing support to new and
existing IGR Clubs.
The organisation also came together for the creation
of the Bid Requirements and Process for Bingham Cup
2016. The work that the Bid Requirements Committee
and the potential hosting clubs led to the most transparent,
competitive and thorough Bingham Cup bid process in
history. The final bids submitted by the Chicago Dragons
and the Nashville Grizzlies were complete, professional,
and well supported by members of their communities.
I am very proud of all of the people who worked tirelessly
to achieve great results out of those bids, including
100% participation from all of the member clubs in
the voting. Special thanks to Craig Sklenar of the
Chicago Dragons and Jon Glassmeyer of the Nashville
Grizzlies for their professionalism and organisation.
You have definitely raised the bar for any future
We also have made some significant decisions regarding
tournament cycle, tournament levy, constitutional
changes, charitable status and potential charity partners
in the future. The teamwork and collaboration of all
of the trustees has led to a functional organisation
which is executing on our agreed agenda from this
past AGM. Thanks to Nick Limerick for his outgoing
work on the Trustees and welcome to Duane Ward to
our band of brothers, working towards our goals for
the future around all things treasury and fundraising.
Finally, but absolutely not least, this year has
been led by a social media explosion – led by
Neil Pyper. His tireless commitment to supporting
our organisation and all of the Gay and Inclusive
Rugby clubs in the world has led to a complete rebirth
in how we collaborate, share information and communicate
with internal and external stakeholders. He has personally
led the charge in our new web presence at igrab.net,
and our new and significant Facebook and Twitter presence.
We have a bright organisational future in regards
to communication. In conjunction with the work that
Neil does with GayRugbyClubs.com,
IGR can achieve new and exciting things related to
cross club communication of best practices around
all club areas. His support and work is unending and
the whole organisation cannot thank him enough.
2014 was a fantastic year with many great achievements.
2015 promises to be a fantastic year as we continue
the work we have committed at the AGM. Our work that
we do to end homophobia in sport through partnership
with internal and external stakeholders is essential
to our communities and our members. We are making
a difference both at the grass roots level as well
as at the executive level of the national and international
Rugby organisations. I am so proud of the work that
we do and the impact that we have on each and every
person that we touch with our mission. Each and every
one of you is a part of something special and unique
which are changing things for gay athletes, supporters
and newcomers to the sport everywhere.
Thank you again for all that you do and I look forward
to 2015 with great pleasure and anticipation.
Happy New Year, gelukkig nieuwjaar, Bonne Année,
feliz año Nuevo, feliz ano novo, buon anno,
ath bhliain faoi mhaise; blwyddyn newydd dda, bliadhna
mhath ur and prosit Neujahr.
Chairman I International Gay Rugby
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