New Zealand has had two other gay rugby teams, before some of those involved in the previous teams looked to re-establish gay rugby in New Zealand and the NZ Falcons emerged in 2013.
The first gay rugby team in New Zealand – and second gay team in the world – was Wellington’s Krazy Knights when it kicked off in 1998. This was followed soon after by the formation of the Ponsonby Heroes later that year. Notably, these teams played in the world’s first rugby match between gay rugby teams in Wellington in October 1998. The Heroes just took out that rugged encounter, by 17 points to 15. One particular highlight of that time was both teams marching together in Auckland’s Hero Parade in the 1999.
The Ponsonby Heroes played local club rugby in Auckland for 7 seasons until 2004, with some great success during this time. The Heroes also participated briefly on the international stage. The Heroes played the touring Brisbane Hustlers in October 2014, taking out the BG Williams trophy – a trophy named in honour of the All Black and Ponsonby rugby legend and good friend and champion of the Heroes. A number of the Heroes players also played in the 2004 Bingham Cup in London as part of the first Worldwide Barbarians team. The Krazy Knights played a number of ad hoc invitation matches over a number of years, before focusing on touch rugby and eventually disbanding. A number of players from both teams – now veterans – still continue to play as part of the NZ Falcons.
Dean (Deadly) Knight.