The founder of a gay and inclusive rugby club in Tooting Bec is hoping to create an environment where a person's sexuality "is a non-issue."

When Darren Cooper moved from north east London to south of the river, it became impractical for him to continue playing for his now former side.

A gay man himself, he soon realised he wasn't the only person who was struggling to find an inclusive club to call his own.

That's when he decided that starting his own club might be the answer to his problem.

"I have been working for about a year to get this off the ground," Mr Cooper said.

"The long term goals of the club are really to ensure that we're providing opportunities for the LGBT+ community to play rugby in an environment where their sexuality is a non-issue. "Rugby union is already an inclusive sport, but with the Israel Folau issue, there is clearly still work to do."

The Folau issue he raised refers to the sacking of the test player and devout Christian by Rugby Australia earlier this year for a social media post saying "hell awaits" gay people.

Called the South London Stags, the club was launched in April this year and is looking to bring in players and supporters of all abilities, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality.

"We have seen a massive positive reaction, with a really fast increase in membership," Mr Cooper added.

"With the ongoing news story about Israel Folau and his views on homosexuality, coming from a player at the highest levels of rugby union, as well as some of the support he's received from England players, it has never been more essential to ensure that these inclusive spaces are available and to continue to make rugby one of the most inclusive sports in the world."

But you don't have to be gay to join the club. And Mr Cooper is also hoping that soon enough you won't have to be a man either.

"Much of the gay and inclusive rugby movement is focused on men's teams, so we're really keen to look to form a women's team as well," he added.

"As for the level we play at, we very much want to be guided by our members, but at its core, that social rugby offer will be central to the club's growth."