Uruguay became the second South American country to play in a Rugby World Cup when it made its debut at Rugby World Cup 1999. Los Teros were drawn in Pool A alongside Scotland, South Africa and Spain in one of five pools. The tournament is the only World Cup to date to have more than four pools. Allocation meant there were three matches per team in the pool phase. Uruguay made its debut against another team appearing on the global stage for the first time, Spain and the match was treated as being the World Cup final for both sides.
The match was a good indication that there are many emergining sides and that rugby goes beyond the traditional Anglo roots. Uruguay was captained by the oldest player in the tournament, Diego Ormachea whom at 40 years of age performed well, scoring one of Uruguay´s five tries vs the Spanish. Spain fought hard but failed to score a try as Uruguay proved to have the better of the Europeans in both attack and defense. All of Spain´s points came from the boot of Andrei Kovalenko. The scoreline of 27-15 meant Uruguay not only won well but also scored a bonus point thanks to scoring four tries.