Thursday, October 30, 2014

International Rugby: Bolivia's Path to Building a Test Team


Photo Rugby de Bolivia
Expansion throughout Latin America has seen the creation of a Three-Tier CONSUR structure with clear paths of development. It has seen a changed landscape with the former South American defined entity giving way to a new one which extents to Guatemala and is soon to see America Rugby introduced to replace CONSUR and NACRA. When the expansion began Bolivia was evenly placed with Ecuador, a country now in CONSUR B. Moves, however, are under way to see Bolivia become involved in test rugby. Bolivia now appears set to soon feature in international competition which will see all areas of the CONSUR defined region having participants in international competition. With this the case for Argentina to host Rugby World Cup 2023 continues to gain ground. 

Work is underway in Bolivia to have the country field a team in the 2018 Juegos Odesur. The event is an important part of South American sport and Bolivia's involvement would be significant for the increasing profile or rugby as a serious sport throughout the continent.

Over two days, Saturday and Sunday, a commission led by Maria Gabriela Rivera evaluated thirty athletes at the Estadio Capriles. The players came from a number of different Bolivian rugby clubs and the commission is looking to identify twenty to form a Bolivian test team. 

The effort is very much international. Involved were Argentina's Santiago Guzmán and Clemente Avellaneda who were confirmed that Bolivia is being offered an opportunity to participate in an upcoming international competition in Chile. 

The creation of an international Bolivian team means that CONSUR and NACRA are now covering countries throughout all of the Americas. It is an indication of the growth that has been enabled following the rise of Argentina over the previous decades. A Rugby World Cup in Argentina carries with it significant opportunities for sustainable regional development with benefits expanding well beyond the borders of the leading rugby nation in the Americas.

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