I am now back in Chile (mainland) after a brief side trip to Easter Island(Great place). All land borders are closed and my visa 30 days away from expiring. I have decided to try and extend it so am staying an hour’s drive west of Santiago while I wait for the process to run it’s course.
We all know about rugby in Argentina but what about Chile?
The Chilean Rugby Federation was founded on 4 May 1953 and governs the sport in Chile. Their statutes and regulations were officialised at 16 December 1963. It is affiliated to the Olympic Committee of Chile, the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby, FIRA and World Rugby and, like all good things in life, was introduced by the Brits in the late 19thC and was played by mine workers in the north of Chile (Iquique).It was developed by the British schools. There are many similar comparisons to Argentina in the spread of the game.
The national team are known as Los Condores – the Condors.
In the 50s the Irish (1952) and French (1954) visited
Some of the older refugees may well remember the story of Flight 571:
The tragic crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, and the resulting books and films, Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and Alive brought Uruguayan and Chilean rugby into the global limelight. The Uruguayans were on tour, and had played several games in Argentina, and were due to play some return matches in Chile.
Alive tells the story of a Uruguayan Rugby team (who were alumni of Stella Maris College (Montevideo)) and their friends and family who were involved in the airplane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972. It was published two years after survivors of the crash were rescued.
From what I can work out the main areas (population wise) are Santiago and Valparaiso (the two most populous regions in Chile approx. 10m peoples) but it is played throughout the country. Bear in mind that the province of Aysen (south and part of the magnificent Carretera Austral)which is the largest with 108,000 km2 has a population of just 100,000.
There are currently 23 clubs and a playing pool of just 19,000 ish (compare with Argentina 420 and approx. 102,000 registered players).
Chile has yet to make it to a RWC but Chileans are happy to be ranked 3rd in South America
And that’s all I‘ve got for now.