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Plaistow gay rugby club strip naked for calendar to tackle cancer

PUBLISHED: 09:50 09 October 2017

The players get naked in the changing room for this Renaissance-effect April shot. Picture: Diverse Publishing and Monty McKinnen

The players get naked in the changing room for this Renaissance-effect April shot. Picture: Diverse Publishing and Monty McKinnen

Diverse Publishing + Monty McKinnen

Players from the UK’s first gay inclusive rugby union club have gotten their kit off to raise money for cancer sufferers.

Kings Cross Steelers pose for their September shot in the shower. Picture: Diverse Publishing and Monty McKinnen Kings Cross Steelers pose for their September shot in the shower. Picture: Diverse Publishing and Monty McKinnen

Seven “very handsome” members of the Kings Cross Steelers, who are based in Plaistow but were founded near Kings Cross St Pancras, got starkers for the inaugural Naked Rugby Players Calendar.

Photographer Monty McKinnen said he was stunned when he turned up to shoot the Newham players as every one looked like Hollywood hearthrob Tom Cruise.

He said: “They are very handsome people - every single one of them looked like they had come off the catwalk in Milan.”

Funds from the 2018 calendar will support men affected by testicular cancer while raising awareness of LGBT+ sports.

Kings Cross Steelers posed for two shots including an arty “Renaissance-effect” shot for April with carefully-positioned rugby balls in place.

The other picture, which features as September, is a more informal shot with one player holding a hose pipe in the shower in front of his laughing team mates.

Monty said helpers were on stand-by to “make sure nothing that could be seen” although he admitted the boys had to “loosen up” a bit before getting into the shower.

“They were a bit stiff at first,” he said before chuckling at his accidental word choice.

The Steelers are the only London club to feature in the calendar along with teams from Edinburgh, Swansea, Manchester, Northampton and Newcastle.

Founded in 1995, they are considered the UK’s oldest gay rugby club and have been a pioneer in the movement of gay inclusive rugby clubs.

“They are one of best in the country when it comes to skill sets,” said Monty.

He and the three other founding members of the calendar hope to tackle the issue of testicular cancer and drive home the message that regular checks made early can save lives.

Monty said: “I hope this calendar empowers guys to check their packages more often and to feel comfortable talking about male cancers.”

The Naked Rugby Players 2018 is out now, priced £13.99, available to buy from Amazon, thenakedrugbyplayers.com and thegayshop.co.uk.

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