The Bingham Cup started in Dublin today with 32 teams competing for the biggest prize in gay rugby.
London team Kings Cross Steelers will take on opponents such as the Nashville Grizzlies, Copenhagen Scrum and the Sydney Convicts.
The event is the biggest international gay-orientated event ever held in Ireland and the largest amateur XVs rugby tournament in fifteen years.
Formed in 1995, the Steelers were the first gay rugby team to play under the Union code.
The Bingham Cup has been held three times since its launch in San Francisco in 2002, once in London in 2004 and then in New York in 2006.
The Cup was founded in memory of September 11th victim Mark Kendall Bingham.
An out gay man and passionate rugby player, Bingham was part of San Francisco Fog RFC.
The International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB) strives to “promote rugby as an all-inclusive non-discriminatory sport which everyone can play, regardless of sexuality,” and from this came the first Bingham tournament in San Francisco.
The Dublin tournament is supported by the betting group Paddy Power, who have provided a €100,000 (£72,000) sponsorship deal.
Paddy Power’s marketing director Ken Robertson said:
“We wouldn’t be the sort of company that does what you might expect a bookmaker to do.”