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Ross Sutherland development officer John Mann believes campaigns like Rainbow Laces help shift the conversation at club level

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross Sutherland’s development officer John Mann hopes that conversations can continue to begin and develop as a result of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

Many rugby clubs across Scotland have signed up to the campaign this year, and the Stags are no different.

It is not the first time that the Naval Grounds outfit will see players wearing the laces.

Last time a proper season could take place in 2019/20, there was similar support coming out of Invergordon, so Mann believes there were no doubts about Rainbow Laces in the Ross Sutherland ranks.

The Rainbow Laces campaign, promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport, is currently in its 2021 activation.
The Rainbow Laces campaign, promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport, is currently in its 2021 activation.

“There was a number of players who did it in the last season, because I know Scottish Rugby have had this in place for a couple of years now,” Mann said.

“The players have bought into it. The more recognition that you can have of these things, the more conversations you can start.

“It’s quite a simple thing to do – change your laces for a month – and that can help start conversations, so I think it’s great.”

There has been a concerted effort to increase inclusion at Ross Sutherland over the last year or two.

The Stags now run walking and touch rugby groups, and recently began a women’s section, and Mann feels every club has a duty to look at what they are doing to make the sport accessible to all.

“Like everyone, we’ve got a long way to go, but I would like to think we’re starting to push it a bit more away from what a traditional rugby club is and trying to get rid of stigmas,” he explained.

“For our club as well as all clubs in the area, anyone should be able to think they can give it a go. As simple as that sounds, I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

“There should be no doubts, it should just be a case of if someone wants to give it a go, they can rock up and give it a go. We need to be constantly publicising what we stand for, and that we’re always trying to get new people in.”

Listen to the Rainbow Laces special episode of our sports podcast, Balls & Whistles, here.

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