It was an all Australian Grand Final to round out the 2016 Bingham Cup held in Nashville on the weekend.
The fourth time the gay rugby competition has been played in the US with more than 1,500 athletes from 48 teams competing.
In the final it was the Melbourne Chargers convincing winners over the Sydney Convicts 20 to 7 but the true winners of the event were the competitors that continue to break down barriers where ever they play.
Four unanswered tries set up the Chargers victory before the Convicts scored a late consolation try in the last minute.
The Victorians didn’t concede a point on their way to the semi-finals, defeating the Chicago Dragons 41-0, New York Gotham Knights 34-0 and Washington Renegades 24-0 during the round-robin phase before beating the San Francisco Fog 53-0 in the quarter-final.
A win in the semi-final over the Renegades set up the final against local Australian rivals.
In a statement on their Instagram, Melbourne Chargers said, “We couldn’t be prouder to have come this far as a club, supported by people from all walks of life who have stuck with us through some trying times. This win is for everyone who has worn a Chargers jersey, run water, and patched us up: thank you.”
The tournament is named after Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player, but many know him as one of the heroes who stormed the cockpit of Flight 93 during 9-11 before the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Bingham’s mother Alice Hoagland was in Nashville in town to support the event named in her son’s honour and to hand over the cup to the Chargers.
The tournament ran for three days across the Memorial weekend in the US and brought both gay and straight men to the music city from more than 28 countries.
Not every player in the cup is gay, but all the players agree the message of the tournament has been one of acceptance and respect.
Former Melbourne Rebels Rugby player Lachlan Mitchell from the Chargers was named player of the tournament.