London: England Sevens international Sam Stanley came out as gay in a British newspaper interview published yesterday, becoming the first English professional rugby union player to do so.
Stanley, 23, has played in five Sevens World Series tournaments for England and comes from a renowned rugby-playing family. His uncle is Joe Stanley, a World Cup-winner with New Zealand in 1987, his brother Mike is in the Samoa squad for the forthcoming World Cup and his cousins Winston and Benson play for Harlequins and Clermont respectively. “I was 10 or 11 when I realised I was different to my friends,” Stanley told the Sunday Times.
“I didn't want to accept it, I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is a phase.”