Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Americas Rugby World Cup History - Chile

Chile have never qualified for a Rugby World Cup. The closest they have come to qualifying was for Rugby World Cup 2003. Chile defeated Brazil and Paraguay to advance to the fourth and final round of the qualification for the Americas region. In round four Chile managed to defeat both Uruguay (10-06) and the USA (21-13) in Santiago, Chile. But they lost all their away matches and their home match vs Canada which meant they were eliminated. Nevertheless, wins vs two participants from Rugby World Cup 1999 was no small achievement.

Chile have long been third in South America and fifth overall in the Americas. An unfortunate fact is that Chile are underfunded and recieve few to no international tours and nor do they tour Europe or elsewhere. Chile have only ever played against Canada twice in their history - the two qualifying matches for Rugby World Cup 2003. This is simply inexcusable. The IRB should be embarrased. Worse still is that Chile have also only played against the USA two times, also in qualification for Rugby World Cup 2003, yet they have a 50% winning record. Clearly, there is a lot to be done. Chile could be a vastly better team but need financial assistance so that they can embark on tours and recieve touring sides. Excluding South American opposition, Chile have only hosted two tests since Rugby World Cup 2003. The results were positive. Chile defeated Georgia 30-24 in 2004 and lost 30-25 vs Spain in 2007. Chile have been on only one international tour since 2003 and it was to Georgia and Portugal in 2006. Chile lost both tests 29-06 and 31-18 but clearly deserve more opportunities.

Chile have hosted important rugby tournaments in the past such as the 2008 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and the 2010 South American Rugby Championship (Sul Americano A). Despite important rugby events being staged in the country, the sheer lack of test rugby that the national team plays combined with the lack of the same for neighbors, Argentina has long held back the growth of rugby in the country. With Argentina entering the Tri Nations in 2012, Chile will have a world class international rugby competition involving a familiar country beamed onto local tv screens. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. It will immensely increase the profile of the sport in the country and attract more kids to the sport.

With neighbours, Argentina doing so well Chile will also benefit substantially. At present, rugby in Chile remains quite popular but its potential is far from being realized. The global game will be the winner from Argentina hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 with rugby being the winner.

Chile vs Brazil, 2009

Chile vs Paraguay, 2009

Chile vs Uruguay, 2007

Chile vs Argentina, 2007

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