Preparations are well underway for the Newcastle Ravens' tens tournament: Hadrian Cup MMXX.
A record number of players have entered for 2020 with teams coming from as far afield as Aberdeen, Dublin and Brighton.
The teams are part of International Gay Rugby (IGR) which promotes diversity and inclusivity in the sport, and encourages a friendly and welcoming environment for LGBT players.
The event, now in its eleventh year, is being held on March 7th at the Ravens' home ground Percy Park in North Shields.
For the first time the tournament will be held across two experience levels with a development tier to accommodate the growing number of newer teams springing up and joining the IGR.
There will also be a welcome evening on the Friday, plus plenty of time to socialise after the rugby on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Matt Hyland, event coordinator, said: "It's great to see teams from 2019 returning, those coming back after a few years away, and also brand new teams which weren't even in existence a year ago. "Having the development tier means newer IGR sides can try out a tens tournament against others of a similar standard. "It will also be nice to welcome new faces to Newcastle, which is always a fun weekend."
Formed in 2006, Newcastle Ravens are the only fully inclusive team in North East England. They go into Hadrian Cup hungry for more silverware, having won the event for the first time last year.
The Ravens are also holders of the Union Plate 2019, the Humber 10s Trophy 2019, and are reigning IGR Northern League champions for the second consecutive year. James McKane, Club Chairman, said: "We are amazed so many have committed to come to Hadrians and are looking forward to some stiff competition. "The event has gone from eight teams in 2018 to 20 teams this year, largely through word of mouth and social media. "We are also looking forward to showing off our new sponsor and kit, which we are keeping nice and clean for the occasion."
Hadrian Cup is one of the biggest LGBT sporting tournaments in the country. It is also a featured event in Northern Pride's 6 month UK Pride campaign, in the run up to UK Pride 2020 in Newcastle in July.