Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chilean Rugby Opens Modern Rugby Facilities

A Rugby World Cup in South America would be hosted by Argentina but it would be about much more than just Argentine rugby. It would be a celebration of what the American continent both north and south of Panama has to offer. The traditionally strong nations have long been Argentina and Canada with the USA having come on in leaps and bounds in recent times to be a significantly better team in recent Rugby World Cup´s than was the case in the 1980´s and 1990´s. The USA did not compete at Rugby World Cup 1995 as it failed to qualify. It returned four years later as did a fourth team from the Americas - Uruguay. 

Uruguay´s brief history of two Rugby World Cup appearances remains impressive with two wins from seven matches. The national team failed to qualify for both Rugby World Cup 2007 and 2011 however which led the governing body of rugby in the country, the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay (URU), attempting to buck the trend by securing improved facilities including a national rugby stadium complete with modern training facilities. The Estadio Charrua was used by the URU to host the 2013 South American Championship and also the friendly international between the CONSUR XV and England last month. 

The venue is to become the Twickenham of Uruguay and with it now being under the administration of the URU Uruguay is now able to secure more much needed international fixtures. Spain will tour South American in November taking on both Uruguay and Chile while there are also rumours of Portugal also touring and possibly also set to face Brazil. Uruguay is to be the crucial north v south play-off to determine Americas 2 at Rugby World Cup 2015. The runner-up of Canada and the USA will play Uruguay home and away. In other words the tests against Iberian opposition serve as ideal preperation for taking on one of the two North Americans. 

Uruguay was, in the end, too strong for Brazil and Chile in the 2013 South American Championship. Progress has, nonetheless, been made by both eliminated nations. The Federacíon de Rugby de Chile (Feruchi) is looking to replicate Uruguay by obtaining quality facilities to benefit Chilean rugby at international level. Last week Feruchi officially presented the new Gimnasio del Centro de Entrenamiento Regional (CER) in Santiago with the objective of the new sporting facility being to deepen the development of Chilean rugby.

According to CONSUR the facility was made possible through funding directed at the 2014 Juegos Suramericanos Santiago. It is to be operated by the company TCM Sports which will invest US$40,000 in equipment and will train the senior national teams in additional to Chile´s age grade and Rugby Sevens teams. The facility is a great victory for Chilean rugby and it comes not long after the country hosted the IRB Junior World Trophy for the second time. Relations between the UAR and Feruchi are strong with Argentine rugby being heavily involved in aiding the sport´s growth in Chile. Indeed, as argued in the book Argentina 2023 is about all of the Americas with Chilean rugby certain to benefit substantially from a Rugby World Cup hosted by its eastern neighbor.

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