Perth Rams Set to Take on IGR's Best in Rome

Mon, May 20, 2024, 2:00 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

The Perth Rams are set to take on the best in International Gay Rugby at the Bingham Cup in May. 

Founded in 2018, the Perth Rams are WA’s only LGBTQIA+ rugby union club. The club started with a few expats from Canada and England, as well as some Perth locals, who saw potential for an International Gay Rugby-affiliated team to be based out of Perth. With players aged from their early 20s into their early 40s, the team actively creates an inclusive environment for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, while fostering friendships and family.  


In addition to playing alongside the Curtin Goats in the regular season, the Rams have competed in Australia and New Zealand’s IGR tournament, the Purchas Cup, in both 2019, hosted in Brisbane, and 2023, hosted at home, in Perth. In 2022, the Rams competed in the Bingham Cup in Ottawa, where they placed 2nd overall in the Challenger Bowl division, and were presented with the Ben Cohen Award for Sportsmanship. 


This month, the Rams are set to head to Rome for International Gay Rugby’s biennial Bingham Cup, where they’ll compete against the best of IGR’s affiliated clubs.  

The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament – more widely known as the Bingham Cup – was first held in 2002, in memory of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who fought back against hijackers on board United flight 93. The 9/11 hero was a gay man and regular rugby player, the Bingham Cup is held to honour Mark’s memory, and to challenge stereotypes and perceptions of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Mark’s legacy sees rugby players, supporters and staff from around the world coming together in a celebration of equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship. 

Following on from their successful run in 2022, the Rams are heading to Rome with 33 players, their largest ever touring cohort. 

“Although we now have plenty of seasoned players, most Rams who start with us would have never picked up a rugby ball before their first training,” Club President, Brock Oswald, shared. 

“We’re running a full Rams team and have also joined with other IGR clubs to form the first ever ‘Barbarian’ side in our Australasian region, which will comprise of Rams players in addition to players from the Adelaide University Sharks, Sydney Convicts, New Zealand Falcons, Brisbane Hustlers & our friends from the US, the Philadelphia Gryphons. The team will be called the Oceanic Wanderers.” 


The Perth Rams are a beacon of inclusivity within WA’s rugby community. A touring team at heart, they have travelled throughout the state to regional Pride events, playing exhibition matches with local teams. In the years 2020-2023, the Rams were the recipient of the Proud Awards Sports Club of the Year, at Perth’s LGBTQIA+ Community & Events Awards Night.  

For players within the club, Perth Ram represents an opportunity to get involved in a space where they’ve previously felt uncomfortable and excluded, and to build a community. 

“It’s a great way to get people in sports,” player and club treasurer, Andrew Ribeiro said. “Growing up I played sports, but I know a lot of my mates who didn’t feel involved or comfortable in those environments or they wouldn’t be accepted.” 

“So, having those opportunities now as adults to be able to get in and do the sports, and the team environment and the mateships they didn’t get when they were younger, it's a really good opportunity for them.” 

“A lot of us just wouldn’t have even gone down and tried out for rugby if not for the fact there was a gay team in Perth,” Matt Woodford, club secretary and player, shared. “It gives us an opportunity to try something we otherwise wouldn’t have.” 

Perth Rams

The team all have different stories of the journey to the field, from new years resolutions to being convinced by friends. 

“I’ve been playing for the Rams for 6 years now,” Woodford said. “In my other life I’m a bit of a nerd and play Dungeons & Dragons with a mate, and he dragged me down to a training session not long after the club started, and I’ve been playing since. Six months in, I played my first game, and I ran on the field and fell in love.” 

Similarly, for Ribeiro: “I played touch rugby all through high school, and then four years ago, one of my mates who used to play was like, “come down to our touch team.” And then they convinced me to do a bit of contact.” 

For player Ash Tyndall, who joined the club with no prior rugby experience, the club provides the opportunity to get involved in sports, when prior environments weren’t particularly comfortable. 

“Having a team where I could slot in, where I didn’t have any of the prerequisite experience, where I’d never played rugby, and going into a team where that was so common, it was really great to have that opportunity,” he said. “And to be able to participate in a global competition where I get to go to Rome and compete, it’s really great.” 


With both the Perth Rams and Curtin Goats on the field together, training sees a blend of demographics and ages, all running and playing alongside each other. As much a social opportunity as it is to play rugby, the team actively encourages inclusivity and engagement, fostering an incredible team environment.  

“It’s been really nice to have an out of the box social group. I love the fact that you get exposed to people from different walks of life,” Tyndall shared. 

“It means a lot. The connection to a gay community, for starter, but also the connection to a really great community. Everyone’s incredibly supportive, everyone’s really close,”Woodford commented. “This has brought me into a group where I really felt accepted and really felt welcomed, and I really enjoy playing with everyone.” 

“This club is like my family. We’re all mates, we all hang out. It’s people who all believe the same thing, and I look forward to that,” Riberio said. 

A sentiment, the team shared, which has seemingly bled into their relationships with other clubs. 

“Everyone’s accepting, welcoming,” Ribeiro shared. “Since we’ve started, I don’t think we’ve had any issues with any of the other teams. Everyone’s always been really respectful and really good.” 

“The club’s message is very much inclusiveness, that anyone can play rugby,” Woodford said. “Rugby is for everyone.” 


With a strong team ready to take to the skies to compete with International Gay Rugby’s best, the players are raring to go. 

“I’m excited to get on the field,” Ribeiro said. “I ruptured my Achilles 6 weeks before the last Bingham Cup, so I got to go but didn’t play, so I just want to step foot on the field.” 

“I’m really looking forward to playing the other gay teams," Tyndall shared. “I’m really looking forward to some games that are really competitive. There were a few games last season that we were really, really close, and those are the games I look back on the most, as being the most fun, so I’m really looking forward to having access to that at the Cup.” 

“Before we went to the one in Canada, we’d never won a game. We managed to win 3 games in Canada and actually got to the final, which we lost, but to win 3 out of the 6 games was an amazing experience, and very much looking forward to bringing that again in Rome.” Woodford commented. 

“The team’s shaping up amazing, we’re absolutely going to bring it. We’re going to show them what Perth can do.” 


The Bingham Cup is set to kick off on May 22, 2024, in Palatiziano, Rome. RugbyWA wishes the Perth Rams the best of luck for the competition. 


Perth Rams Bingham Cup Squad 

Mikey Felix (Captain) 

Kenneth MacPherson (VC) 

Matt Woodford (VC) 

Alejandro Arbacia 

Alex Bruce 

Ash Tyndall 

Dave Manea 

Andrew Ribeiro 

Elijah Hodgkinson 

Jack Whitear 

Joe Barnes 

Jordan Luckin 

Kai Han 

Leighton Morrell 

Matt Bermingham 

Pash Tzaikos 

Ryan Eldred 

Scott Haych 

Shanne Kenny 

Xavier McFarland 

Zac Andre 


Coach: Michael Faithfull 

Manager: Jeb Brown 

Physiotherapist: Mitch Wylie 


Perth Rams Playing in Oceanic Wanderers Squad 

Christian Mendoza 

Luke Miles 

Stephen Sharratt 

Cameron Terry 

Devon Zaltsman 

Coach: David Weir 

Manager: Matthre Kalmund