Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cristian Westenenk - Chilean playing in Australia

It is not only Europe that is recieveing exported players from Chile. The former club of Australia´s legendary back-rower, George Smith and current club of Wallaby back-rower, Wycliff Palu is home to potentially the best Chilean forward, Cristian Westenenk. The Chilean international is playing his second season of rugby in Australia for the Manly Marlins in the country´s most important domestic rugby competition, the Shute Shield. The quality of the players in the competition is in no way insignificant. In the above photo, Westenenk can be seen playing alongside Wallaby Palu and against another Wallaby, Phil Waugh who was playing for Sydney University.

Westenenk is not just a player making up the numbers. He started for Manly in the play-offs last season and commands a place in the starting lineup. He also has his own fanbase in Manly made up of local Chileans who go to all his matches and wave the national flag. Coincidently, the colours of the flag are similar to those of Manly. Westenenk scored three tries in the first game of the season as a replacement vs Western Sydney´s Parramatta.

Cristian Westenenk is an international rugby player for Los Condores, the Chilean national team. He has played for Chile in Rugby World Cup Qualifying matches and most recently in the 2010 Sul Americano A which also included Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Having a player as good as Cristian Westenenk playing in the Shute Shield is another reminder of the potential of rugby in American countries other than Argentina. Having Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023 would be truely amazing for rugby in the region.

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