Sydney Convict Fernando Peres on the team’s infamous Rugger Bugger fundraising

Sydney Convict Fernando
Peres on the team’s infamous
Rugger Bugger fundraising
strip show: “We have to reveal
all our bits. And, yes, some are
bigger than others!”
Gym jitters
and ruGGer
Gay men aren’t good at sports?
Don’t be ridiculous. Sydney Convict,
Fernando Peres discusses the long
and the short(s) of gay rugby.
90 DNA
with Will Fennell
I still remember vividly the first time I
walked into a gym. I had just moved from
country New South Wales to the intense
muscle culture of the early ’90s Sydney gay
scene. I didn’t necessarily want to build
muscle, but like a David Attenborough,
documentary Trials Of The Gay Male,
pumping iron was a matter of survival in
my new environment.
For weeks I talked myself into going…
and then out of going… and then back
into going. Finally, after gathering all my
psychological strength, I moved in on
ground zero. About five metres from the
entrance to the gym I became paralysed
with fear, slowing my cautious gait until I
was at a standstill.
What lay behind those glass doors was
the intimidating sight of bulging biceps,
rippling pectorals and snarling attitude of
the kind that only dance music, gorgeous
men and a needle full of testosterone
could bring. I turned and ran. I would
rather have perished looking like Kate
Moss than show them my skin and bones
struggling to bench 10kg.
Did I go back? Eventually, yes – but for
nearly 18 months I trained my scrawny body
at 10pm when the gym was empty, until
I felt I was ready to slide into some Lycra
(as you did then) and present myself at the
more gay-popular 6pm shift. I still shudder
at the thought… of Lycra, not the gym.
Today, I care less about what people
think and I love hitting the gym. Perhaps
that’s one of the positives of getting
through your twenties … okay, thirties!
As I looked around the Mardi Gras
party this year, it was clear there’s been
a real shift in what Aussie men (not to
mention all the imports, as well) now
see as the textbook physique. There are
less of the steroidal “muscle boys” that
once crowded the dance floor with their
attitude; what has evolved are gay men
looking fit and healthy, with nice, natural,
muscular and lean physiques. What’s
pleasing about this change is that for
most of us, with a bit of hard work (and
less ice cream), this build is obtainable.
I often hear, “I want to look like a DNA
cover boy,” but talk alone isn’t going
to get you there; those dreamy men
work hard. Yes, genetics do play a role,
but remember, was it Confucius who
said, “There is always a hard floor under
the unsightly carpet?” Probably not, but
whoever it was knew what they were
talking about.
Where do you start? First, buy a pair of
jeans two sizes too small or a tank top to
show off your future biceps and make it your
target to slide into them with confidence as
soon as possible. Next step is getting your
body moving. If the gym is not your thing
(either too intimidating or too boring) my
suggestion is start playing some sport.
There’s something undeniably sexy
about a man that plays sport. I think it’s
because sportsmen train their bodies to
be strong and fit, not just to prance and
parade around Bondi Beach in a pair of
barely-there bathers.
And so I tracked down (perhaps stalked)
a member of the gay rugby team, the
Sydney Convicts, to chat about balls,
grooming and gay footballers. Perhaps
it’s the notion of big, muscled, dirty legs
in short shorts, or the fact that they’re
specialists with balls? I don’t know (or care)
what it is; rugby players get my vote as the
ultimate sexy sportsmen.
Before meeting up with Fernando
Peres to get the rugby lowdown, I had a
simple request – arrive at the interview in
football shorts or I’d cut the editorial. Yes,
perhaps it bordered on journalistic sexual
harassment, but it was sooooooo worth it!
Will: Hi Fernando, before we start, can
you remove your shirt? Okay, that’s
better. How did you get involved with
the gay rugby team?
Fernando Peres: I always liked playing
team sports and the idea of playing for a
gay rugby team appealed to me. When
I was living in London six years ago, I
started playing for the Kings Cross Steelers
who are the first open-membership gay
and bisexual rugby club in the world.
Rugby is a tough game and it draws on
my many physical talents on the paddock.
I’ve always enjoyed contact sports; I used
to do Jiu Jitsu when I was younger, so for
me it was an easy crossover to play rugby.
I just had to get used to passing and
running with the ball. I’ve also made some
good friends through playing rugby.
Do you have to be a man that kisses
men to be on the team?
No. The Sydney Convicts are very open
and it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, bisexual
or straight. Everyone is welcome regardless
of experience or sexual orientation.
Do the players pay special attention to
their hair before going onto the field?
You can name names?
Everyone wants to look their best when
they’re on show or playing football. It’s
rumored that in our dressing room hair
product quickly passes through many
hands. As for names, we have a saying,
“What goes on the paddock, stays on the
paddock.” So no, no names this time but
if you happened to pick any of our back
line players, there’s a very good chance
you’d find your man, and receive a free hair
consultation to boot.
There has been a lot of media attention
given to your team. Why do you think
this is?
We’re the first gay rugby club in Australia;
we’ve broken many stereotypes through
the quality of our football. We’re
committed to building a competitive, social
and diverse club that welcomes players.
Your team is notorious for pulling their
pants down on stage. Tell us more.
Ah yes, Rugger Bugger. It’s one of the
many fund-raisers we do. Getting rugby
boys on stage is one thing, getting
them to dance and take their clothes
off is another. I was part of last year’s
performance and I can say it was great to
see so many of the team get up on stage
and perform to a wonderfully supportive
crowd even if in the end we have to
reveal all our bits. And yes, some girls are
bigger than others!
What is your grooming routine?
I’m Brazilian and all Brazilians know the
importance of moisturising. Our first
childhood lesson from our mothers is how
to lather our bodies in this liquid gold.
We’re experts at it. As for my routine,
it consists of an occasional scrub and
cleanse, followed by a mild moisturiser
and sun block. In the evening I use night
creams for under my eyes, face and body.
Take me into the post-game showers (I
don’t mean literally, well actually, come
to think of it, why not?) Is it as steamy as
we all imagine? Does anyone ever drop
the soap?
Unfortunately (or fortunately), nothing
happens, no matter where the soap may
end up! After the game, the only thing that
comes to mind is a cold beer!
Which sportsman do you respect and admire?
Ben Cohen and his foundation, Standup
Against Bullying. Ben’s a great football
player and a very, very sexy man.
What would you say to someone that
suggests gay men aren’t good at sport?
I’d say, “don’t be ridiculous!” Gay men are
no better or worse at sport than straight
men. The perception exists partly because
elite gay sports people often don’t come
out. With little in the way of role models,
talented gay youth often choose careers
away from sport.
Do you prefer hairy or smooth balls on a man?
A light dusting of hair is always nice.
Thanks, after that answer there goes my
ball waxing business. Finally Fernando,
I seriously need help with balls? I mean,
can you teach me to catch a ball?
Well, we can teach you how to catch a
ball or balls. Rugby balls are quite big so
it should be even easier for you to master.
You’re always welcome (as everyone is)
to come down and join us in our weekly
training sessions. We train every Tuesday
at 6:30pm in Rushcutter’s Bay Park and
Thursday’s again at 6:30pm at Woollahra
grounds in Rose Bay. Or pop down and
support us at one of our weekly Saturday
matches as part of the Sydney suburban
For more on how to join the rugby team or lend your support
go to For more about a gay sport team
near you check out or
DNA 91
Sporting scents
When I hear about the
obligatory ‘sport’ issue of
a popular fragrance I begin
to hum the opening bars
of ABBA’s Money, Money,
Money. I try to remain openminded, but rarely does the
reissued sporty fragrance
come close to the original
and I’m left thinking why did
they bother?
Recently, I asked my
twitter followers what
sport version of a wellliked fragrance actually hit
the mark. There was an
undeniable favourite: Chanel
Allure Homme Sport. I asked
my mate the Grooming
Guru, Lee Kynaston, to share
his thoughts on the matter. Interestingly, he agreed with my
tweeps regarding Chanel.
According to the Guru, “The word sport has now become
synonymous with a fragrance that’s light or fresh, energising
or invigorating – presumably because it sounds nice and
masculine! It’s partly a marketing
ploy to get you to buy more
fragrance, but some offer an
interesting twist on your favourite
fragrance, so are worth checking
out. A fragrance that exceeds the
original is Chanel Allure Homme
Sport – a sparklingly fresh and
sexy variant that has actually
managed to become a bit of a
classic in its own right. No mean
feat for a sport version! One
that misses the mark is Dolce &
Gabbana’s The One Sport, which
is quite horrible. In fact, the only
word I can think of to describe it
is acrid. It’s a shame because The
One is an excellent fragrance.”
For more go to
Keep it clean
Sweat is a playground for bacteria,
so for the man that wants to smell
like a man, if the little gremlins
under your arms aren’t kept under
control, you’ll pong like week-old
compost when you exercise. I’m not
partial to highly-scented deodorants
myself, so I recommend Nivea For
Men Silver Protect Roll-On. The
silver ions are highly active and fight
against bacteria providing 48-hour
antiperspirant protection, with very
little fragrance.
Quick tip: for real, long-term
protection, use an anti-bacterial
wash under your arms to kill the
bacteria before using deodorants.
The gym bag
My last swish gym bag had 12 pockets
and an in-built water fountain. However,
after discovering a protein shake in a
secret chamber that was so old
it had become cheese, I knew
it was time to streamline. The
real challenge lay in finding
a simple sports bag, but
my search ended at
American Apparel.
These nifty tote
style bags
come in a
great range
of colours
and there’s
not a (where
the [email protected]%K are
my keys) pocket
in sight.
For more go to store.
Repair from exercise
Being active is good news for your health but over
exercising can actually stress the body, creating aging
free radicals. Tammy Farrell from Core Health Consulting
suggests, “When you’re exercising make sure you’re
consuming lots of antioxidant rich goodies such as white tea,
kiwi fruit and vitamin C.” She assures me a good dose of
antioxidants each day will help repair the body from exercise
and keep you looking younger.
For more go to
92 DNA
The problem…
Ingrown hairs and blemishes from
waxing and shaving are causing your
skin to look like a ‘Hello-DominoPizza-Super-Supreme’.
The answer…
The Anthony Logistics range rocks,
especially the Ingrown Hair Treatment.
It contains glycolic, salicylic and
phytic acids to gently remove dead
skin, fight bacteria and free the
hair. The gel is easy to apply and
is moisturising, not drying. Added
willowherb and lavender soothe
and calm the skin and help prevent
unsightly bumps and lumps.
For more go to
To make a booking with Will Fennell call Will and
Peta on (02) 9388 0221 or go to or