Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The oldest Rugby club outside of Europe

Rugby in South America is increasingly breaking new ground with the sport being practiced throughout the region in every country and the level of rugby also improving constantly. 

Uruguay remain the second best in South America and continue to proudly be a two time Rugby World Cup participant and have a better record than the likes of Romania, Japan, Namíbia and Tonga. The IRB´s weekly rugby program, Total Rugby, recently featured a piece on the oldest rugby club outside of Europe.

The club is not from a traditional power or former English colony such as Australia or New Zealand but rather is from Uruguay. A widely unknown fact is that the first place rugby was exported to was infact Montevideo. The Montevideo Cricket Club (MVCC) has rugby roots going back to 1861 with the first match on record being listed as taking place in 1880 between Uruguyans and British settlers.

The club has played in Uruguay´s national championship, the Campeonato Uruguayo de Rugby since it was created in 1950 and had its first ever match in the championship vs Carrasco Polo Club which has won a staggering 24 national titles since 1950.

Carrasco had 12 players in Uruguay´s squad for Rugby World Cup 2003. The MVCC was successful in the early days of Uruguayan championship rugby, winning the national title on three occasions in the 1950´s (1951, 1953 and 1956) but since this time it has been unable to compete at the same level.

 Rather teams such as Carrasco Polo Club, the Old Christians Club and Old Boy´s have come to be the country´s powerhouses. Between them the three clubs have won 54 of the 65 titles in the history of the Campeonato Uruguayo de Rugby. The last time a team other than one of these three were champions was back in 1975. The 2010 champions were Old Boy´s who coincidently were crowned champions for the first time since they were joint champions with Club de Rugby La Cachila in 1975.

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