Making History on the Pitch: Transmanian Devils RFC bring to life the meaning of greater inclusivity in rugby.
On 29th July 2020, the newly formed Transmanian Devils Rugby Football Club made history by playing their first ever rugby union match against and hosted by, pioneering LGBT+ Inclusive Rugby club, The Manchester Village Spartans RUFC.
This match marked a major milestone for greater inclusivity in sport for the trans and LGBT+ community and is the first Union match to be played by a complete Trans side in Europe.
The friendly match took place at Sale Sports Club as part of the Devils’ inaugural Bootcamp Weekend. Both sides started strong, trading periods of attack and defence in the opening minutes. The Spartans drew first blood with an overlap play down the left wing for the first try and a 1-0 lead.
The Devils responded quickly off the restart with strong runs and smart offloads to utilise the full width of the pitch. A line break on the left led to the Devils’ first ever try, scored by a nimble step from acting scrum-half Eli to even the match at 1-1.
Back and forth play continued until a fast Spartans attack again found the left corner to retake the lead 2-1 before half time. The Devils regrouped and came out firing in the second half, pounding away at the Spartans’ line before scrum-half Felix picked and went over the line to tie it again at 2-2.
More intense play followed as both sides traded turnovers. The Devils finally broke through for their third try via a blindside play to take a 3-2 advantage. However, the Spartans soon responded down the middle to level 3-3 as the final minutes approached.
In a dramatic finish, the Spartans capitalised on a Devils knock-on with a multi-phase attack that created a 3-on-1 overlap for the winning try and a 4-3 final score. Both teams congratulated each other on the historic match before celebrating together post-game.
While the Spartans earned victory on the scoreboard, the true triumph belonged to the Transmanian Devils for this pioneering moment, advancing inclusivity in sport for trans and LGBT+ athletes in Manchester and beyond.
The newly formed club has cemented themselves as leaders in advancing the important rugby values of openness and respect for all – reminding people by pitching up and playing that rugby, and indeed, sport should truly always be “For All”.
Check back shortly for a report on the entire Bootcamp weekend.