Simon Dunn And His Boyfriend Totally Trolled Homophobic Rugby Player Israel Follau With A Steamy Kiss – NewNowNext


Earlier this month, Australian rugby standout Israel Follau said he believes gay people who don’t repent will go to hell, leading to calls for his firing.

Follau has since doubled down on his statement, saying he would sooner end his career than take back what he said.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

LGBT and ally rugby fans have continued to criticize Follau, as well Rugby Australia for essentially looking the other way at his homophobic rhetoric.

But that doesn’t mean no ones doing anything about it: This week, former bobsledder Simon Dunn clapped back at Follau, and the rest of the homophobic haters out there, by sharing a sweet photo of himself kissing boyfriend Felix after a rugby match victory.

The couple play together on the Kings Cross Steelers, an inclusive rugby team in London. After initially posting it on Sunday, Dunn retweeted the image on Monday, this time tagging Follau.

“Unfortunately the sporting world is still a place where kissing my partner after our team’s victory is still seen as an act of defiance or rebellion,” Dunn told Gay Times. “It’s an environment where someone’s homophobic comments can be defended as ‘just his opinion’ and that truly is worrying.”

“I’ve devoted my life to sport, and as an out and proud athlete I’ll continue to do what is natural for me,” he added, “and hopefully break down stereotypes in the process.”

After the smooch went viral, Dunn said it reminded of why visibility is so important.

“I’ve received just as much hate (if not more) as I have support for this picture,” he wrote. “Which only shows me we have a lot of work to do before homophobia in sport is a thing of the past!”

Also this week, All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team, launched “Diversity Is Strength,” a campaign celebrating equality and diversity and signaling LGBT fans and players are welcome in the sport.
 

As players march on the field to reveal rainbow stripes on their uniforms, a narrator warns that discrimination is “an enemy that cannot be fought alone, it must be defeated together. It will take more than 15, it will takes thousands, millions.”

Jeff Taylor is a North Carolina-based journalist who writes for LGBTQ Nation, Q Notes and other outlets.

@jefftaylorhuman



English rugby club not interested in Israel Folau – New Zealand Herald


Sale Sharks coach Steve Diamond has denied reports the English premiership club were reportledy set to offer Israel Folau a contract worth $1.5 million a year, depite his controversial views on homosexuality.

Diamond has told the Sun newspaper that the club won’t be making a play for the Wallabies and Waratahs fullback, whose contract with Rugby Australia ends this year.

“We don’t want to be associated with that,” Diamond said.

According to the Rugby Paper, Sale were set to offer Folau a deal of 750,000 pounds a season.

News of Sale chasing Folau didn’t go down well with many Sharks fans and UK rugby pundits on social media and discussion boards.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg said recently Folau’s religious views wouldn’t be acceptable in rugby league but has said since, repeatedly, he wants the former Storm and Broncos star back in the 13-man game.

Israel Folau of the Wallabies. Photo / AAP.
Israel Folau of the Wallabies. Photo / AAP.

Folau has made it clear he will not back down from his beliefs, however, meaning a return to league by the 29-year-old could put Greenberg’s conviction that diversity “can’t be just words on a wall” under a serious examination.

The money on offer in rugby – Sale’s reported offer was around double what a top-line centre could get in the NRL – would point to Folau remaining in the 15-man game.

The Rugby Paper even suggested Folau could earn command in excess of $2 million a season, mostly likely in France.

While Folau has always been a cleanskin, Japanese rugby clubs are extensions of corporate brands and they’re notorious for turning away players with histories of public drama and controversy, even DUI convictions.

Rugby Australia have hit pause on their contract talks with Folau while the inclusivity-vs-freedom of speech debate rages on.

Folau is believed to be keen to stay in Australian rugby, with the World Cup next year a big carrot with his wife Maria due to play in the netball World Cup for New Zealand next year, too.

Whether Rugby Australia will change strategy on their contract negotiations with Folau remains to be seen, however.

Folau’s marketing value to the code is undoubtedly reduced after the last month and, allied with sponsor’s views, that could easily have an impact on the size – and length – of RA’s contract offer.

– With Daily Telegraph



NZ Rugby's emphatic diversity declaration – Radio New Zealand


Opinion: A new ‘Diversity is Strength’ ad is part of NZ Rugby’s long-term strategic goals, but also comes at the perfect time, as the sport deals with Israel Folau’s comments, writes Jamie Wall.

A screenshot from the new Diversity Is Strength ad.

A screenshot from the new Diversity Is Strength ad.
Photo: Supplied

In rugby, like in a lot of things, timing is everything. A perfect pass to a player hitting the line, or a perfect tackle on an opponent that’s just received the ball.

Or, in the case of NZ Rugby last night, the perfect time to make it clear which side of an argument you’re on:

The AIG-sponsored ‘Diversity is Strength’ ad was filmed last year, and it’s entirely possible it wasn’t originally scheduled to run until the test season started in June. It shows the All Blacks and Black Ferns wearing a rainbow infused playing jersey, while the narrator makes a diatribe about ‘knocking down barriers’, ‘fighting as one’ and the usual sort of stuff that accompanies slow motion shots of sports players and classical music.

As far as aesthetics go, it’s pretty unoriginal. The director has clearly taken their cues from any number of NFL Films productions, Nike promos or cheesy sports movies to get the desired effect.

There’s a weird moment as a Japanese crowd rises passionately to presumably sing ‘God Defend NZ’, and one of the All Blacks is wearing number 0 for some reason. There’s the slight issue of including the Black Ferns in the ad, because if they were all really in it together then the women should probably be getting paid the same.

But the message is clear: NZ Rugby wants to be about as far away as it possibly can from the mess that Rugby Australia now finds itself in thanks to Israel Folau. Now all those people banging on about respecting beliefs and freedom of speech should be able to see what this is really about: the image of an organisation and what the people writing the cheques want.

This isn’t to say that NZ Rugby doesn’t really believe in diversity or inclusion. The more people inspired to play rugby, the better – but this is a very clever and obvious move to cash in on the current feeling towards Folau’s statements. It’s not a bad thing at all, they’ll reap the benefits of being the progressive team that promotes the socially acceptable view.

Of course, this wave started last week when All Black halfbacks Brad Weber and TJ Perenara came out swinging on social media. Both made their feelings known about their disagreement with Folau’s views, but it was no slightly-ambiguous subtweet or disclaimer about beliefs.

Weber used the word ‘disgust’ while Perenara rammed home his message by providing a link to a gender minorities support page (also worth mentioning former Wallaby halfback Nic White also chimed in with a message of support, which is notable because he’s the only Australian player to say anything on the issue so far).

It earned the admiration of many, to say nothing of surprise. Just last week I wrote a column that concluded by saying that it’s unlikely that NZ Rugby would have to deal with a situation like Folau, because the All Blacks aren’t exactly known for saying anything interesting at all.

But it’s fitting then that a couple of yappy halfbacks broke that mould and may have ushered in the early release of the Diversity is Strength campaign. It said a lot that Steve Hansen felt comfortable enough to wholeheartedly endorse Perenara at the first All Black press conference of the year.

But the campaign would’ve gone ahead regardless of whether Folau had said what he said, anyway. Which is a clear sign that NZ Rugby has had this as a strategic goal for a while now, and have recognised the need to move with the times. If anything, they’re probably secretly thanking Folau for providing a much more favourable climate for them.

So there it is, one of the biggest bastions of New Zealand conservatism just walked out the gate and took a side. Like all companies that publicly and officially embrace diversity, there’s no going back now.



Beyond the Game: UAPB's kicker is a Scotland native, former rugby player – KATV


Jamie Gillan (KATV photo)

It is almost unheard of. In fact, even Arkansas-Pine Bluff kicker and punter Jamie Gillan struggles to wrap his mind around his own journey.

“It’s a little weird. A lot of people train their whole lives to get in this position, and I get a fluke shot.”

Born in England, Gillan grew up in Scotland. Naturally, he played rugby. He even earned a scholarship to play the sport at a boarding school.

But when his father, a member of the Royal Armed Forces, was assigned to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Jamie came with him. Football quickly caught his eye.

“I just happen to see someone miss an extra point and I’m like, I’m pretty sure I can do that.”

He decided to kick for his high school team in Leonardtown, Maryland. A friend noticed a Facebook post that said Arkansas-Pine Bluff was looking for a kicker. They were offering a full scholarship.

Sight unseen, Gillan accepted. He called his move to Pine Bluff a “culture shock.”

“I didn’t even know Arkansas existed. They were like, ‘you want to come and play football for us?’ I was like, ‘yeah, I’m in!'”

His gamble paid off, both for himself and UAPB. Last year, he averaged 43.4 yards per punt, eighth best in the FCS. He tallied 12 touch-backs on kick offs.

Gillan enters his senior season with NFL scouts keeping their eyes on him. Some have visited campus, according to the school.

Perhaps most interesting is his unorthodox style. Instead of taking three steps back and two to the side, Gillan goes from a 45 degree angle, as one would in rugby.

The routine feels fitting for a story that is just as unorthodox.

“It’s crazy,” he said.

Jamie Gillan is proof that life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Never punt on them.

“You got opportunities in life. You just gotta take it.”



Torment shows no sign of dissipating for Australian Super Rugby sides – Stuff.co.nz


Bryce Hegarty and the Waratahs were blanked 29-0 by the Lions in Sydney in Super Rugby.

MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES

Bryce Hegarty and the Waratahs were blanked 29-0 by the Lions in Sydney in Super Rugby.

Early-season good vibes about Australia’s Super Rugby teams are diminishing in the face of some harsh reality checks from overseas opposition.

NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds both lost heavily at home in round 10 and the rebooted Melbourne Rebels are still searching for a first win in South Africa after suffering a 14th consecutive loss in the Republic.

The Waratahs held on to the Australian conference lead despite a 29-0 home defeat the Lions, who recorded their first win in Sydney.

The Reds fell to the Chiefs - their fourth-straight loss.

GETTY IMAGES

The Reds fell to the Chiefs – their fourth-straight loss.

NSW had won their last four games, against all of their Australian conference rivals, but were given a lesson in execution by the South African conference leaders.

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The Waratahs recorded an unwanted first, having never previously being held scoreless in a Super Rugby game.

Both the Reds and Rebels are struggling to deliver on their early season promise.

The Reds lost a fourth straight game and early-season conference pacesetters the Rebels suffered a third consecutive defeat and fourth in their last five fixtures.

Their disappointment at a 28-10 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria was compounded by injuries to captain and lock Adam Coleman, brothers Dane and Ross Haylett-Petty and hooker Jordan Uelese.

The Rebels trailed 21-3 at halftime and never got the deficit down below 11 points in the second half.

Queensland were also blown away early in their 36-12 loss to New Zealand’s Chiefs in Brisbane.

Reds captain and Wallabies prop James Slipper played barely 20 minutes because of a collarbone injury.

The visitors bolted to a 24-0 lead despite losing influential playmaker Damian McKenzie to a first-half head knock.

Classy centre Samu Kerevi salvaged some scoreboard respectability for the home team with two tries, but it was a 35th straight loss for an Australian Super side against New Zealand opposition.

The Crusaders remain top of the New Zealand conference after a 33-11 bonus-point home victory over the winless Sunwolves in torrential rain in Christchurch.

Only five points separate the top four Kiwi sides, in a typically tight and ultra competitive New Zealand conference.

Flanker Shannon Frizell scored three tries for the Highlanders in their 34-16 win over the hapless Blues, who have lost 15 consecutive Super games to domestic rivals.

The Lions remain 11 points clear of the Bulls in the South African conference, though the latter have now recorded three successive wins.

The Sharks shaded the Stormers 24-17 in Durban, but both teams have won just three out of nine matches.

Next round NSW have a bye while the other three Australian teams again face overseas opposition, with the Reds hosting the Lions, the Brumbies at home to the Crusaders and the Rebels playing the Stormers in Cape Town.


 – AAP



Super W rugby coach echoes call for NZ teams to be added to women's competition – TVNZ


Queensland Super W coach Michael Hayes wants the fledgling women’s rugby competition fast-tracked to a trans-Tasman format next year after a memorable climax to the inaugural season.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 26: Fiao'o Faamausili of New Zealand lifts the trophy following the Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 Final between England and New Zealand at Kingspan Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Fiao’o Faamausili of New Zealand lifts the trophy following the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Final between England and New Zealand.

Source: Getty

NSW won the first title with a 16-13 extra-time victory over Queensland at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Friday.

Members of both camps hailed the five-team,15-a-side tournament as a tremendous success.

Rather than just double the five-round format by having each team play home and away, Hayes feels Rugby Australia should seek to involve New Zealand teams from next year.

“They are talking about two rounds within our own conference, but I would actually like to see us take the big step,” Hayes said.

“Take it, grab it and go and play some good rugby over in New Zealand and New Zealand teams come and play some good rugby over here.

“I think what we’ve seen tonight is outstanding rugby and I think on a world stage, it was as good as anything I”ve seen.

“I’ve seen World Cups and what both teams displayed there tonight was good, if not better, than some of the World Cup games I’ve seen.”

NSW captain and fullback Ash Hewson, who kicked the deciding penalty on Friday, would also like to see the Australian teams tackle New Zealand opposition.

In an increasingly competitive market for female athletes, Hayes believes the first season of Super W could entice players to move from other sports.

Players in the inaugural Super W did not receive a wage.

“We do it for the complete and utter love of the game,” Hewson said.

“Every single hit, run, ruck, breakdown is hit with passion and love for the game; that’s why it’s such a great spectacle.”

Hewson’s penalty after the extra-time siren averted the potentially unsatisfactory situation of the trophy being shared.

Because it preceded a men’s Super Rugby game at the venue, extra time was reduced to golden point over five-minute halves instead of 10-minute terms.

Hayes feels Super W merits a stand-alone final.

“I think so because of the brand of rugby they are playing,” he said.