Rugby union in Chile

Last updated
Rugby union in Chile
An English rugby union team in Valparaiso 1925.
Governing body Chilean Rugby Federation
National team(s) Chile
First playedLate 19th century
Registered players18,755 [1]
National competitions

Rugby union in Chile is a fairly popular sport.

The Chilean Rugby Federation was founded on 4 May 1953 and governs the sport in Chile. Their statutes and regulations were officialized at 16 December 1963. It is affiliated to the Olympic Committee of Chile, the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby, FIRA and World Rugby.



Rugby was first introduced into South America in the late 19th century by British immigrants, but this was mainly in Brazil and neighbouring Argentina. [2]

It was introduced by the British in the 19th century. It is believed that the first people who played it in Chile were the English who worked at the saltmines in Iquique. Rugby was also developed by the English private colleges. For many years it was a sport mostly played by the upper classes in Chile. The first teams appeared in Valparaíso and Santiago de Chile, who later formed the Unión de Rugby de Chile. The British influence can be noticed by the fact that several of the main Chilean teams have English names.

Some rugby did trickle across the border from Argentina, but it was not until the 1920s that the game really became established, around Santiago and Valparaíso. [2]

During the 1950s, Chile was visited by the Irish tour of 1952 and a 1954 French tour.

Chilean delegates were amongst those who went to the centenary congress of the International Rugby Football Board in 1986. [3]

In South America, with the dominance of Argentina, Chile used to consider itself the best of the rest. [2] This was confirmed in many people's minds when Chile won the second place in the 1981 South American Championship in the absence of Argentina. [2] However, of the other South American nations only Uruguay has qualified for the Rugby World Cup.

In the late 1980s, former French coach Jean-Pierre Juanchich became national administrator of the sport, lending it some extra credibility. [4] During the 1980s, Chilean rugby participation increased by 400%, and whereas it was previously confined to the cities of Santiago and Valparaíso, it began to spread throughout the country. [5]

Flight 571 & "Alive"

The tragic crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, and the resulting books and films, Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and Alive brought Uruguayan and Chilean rugby into the global limelight. The Uruguayans were on tour, and had played several games in Argentina, and were due to play some return matches in Chile.

Alive tells the story of a Uruguayan Rugby team (who were alumni of Stella Maris College (Montevideo)) and their friends and family who were involved in the airplane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972. It was published two years after survivors of the crash were rescued.

National team

The Chile national rugby union team, known as "Los Condores" ("The Condors") it is the 24th in the World Rugby Rankings, and it is the third best team from South America, after Argentina and Uruguay.

Women's rugby

Although Chile's women have not yet played test match rugby, they have been playing international sevens rugby since 2004. (Current playing record).

Domestic organisation

Chile National Rugby Championship started in 1948, and its first winner was Prince of Wales Country Club.

Related Research Articles

1947 BSAA Avro Lancastrian <i>Star Dust</i> accident aircraft crash

On 2 August 1947, Star Dust, a British South American Airways (BSAA) Avro Lancastrian airliner on a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile, crashed into Mount Tupungato, in the Argentine Andes. An extensive search operation failed to locate the wreckage, despite covering the area of the crash site, and the fate of the aircraft and its occupants remained unknown for over 50 years, giving rise to various conspiracy theories about its disappearance.

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 Aviation accident

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, later known as Andes flight disaster, Miracle Flight 571, and The Miracle of the Andes, was a chartered flight that originated in Montevideo, Uruguay, bound for Santiago, Chile. On October 13, 1972, while crossing the Andes, the inexperienced co-pilot of the Fairchild FH-227D, who was the pilot flying, mistakenly believed they had reached Curicó, despite instrument readings that indicated otherwise. The aircraft began descending too early to reach Pudahuel Airport and struck a mountain, initially shearing off both wings and the tail section. The remaining portion of the fuselage slid down the mountain about 725 metres (2,379 ft) before striking ice and snow on a glacier. The flight was carrying 45 passengers and crew, including 19 members of the Old Christians Club rugby union team, along with their families, supporters, and friends.

Sport in Uruguay

Sport in Uruguay has been an important part of Uruguayan culture, since the early start of the nation. Winners of such important awards such as the FIFA World Cup, the French Open, and Olympic medals, Uruguay has been a constantly successful sports nation in continental and world aspects.

Brazil national rugby union team

The Brazil national rugby union team, nicknamed Tupis, is controlled by the Brazilian Rugby Confederation. Brazil is one of the founding unions of CONSUR and played in the inaugural South American tournament. Brazil has not qualified for a Rugby World Cup, but participated in the first edition of rugby 7s in the Olympics. Brazil currently ranks 3rd in South America and 5th in the Americas region.

Rugby union in Uruguay

Rugby union in Uruguay is considered a popular sport. The Uruguay national team, commonly known as Los Teros, have been playing international rugby since the late 1940s and have made appearances in four Rugby World Cups: 1999, 2003, 2015 and 2019.

Rugby union in Brazil

Rugby union in Brazil is a minor but growing sport, with rugby union increasing in popularity at universities across Brazil.

South American Jaguars

The South American XV is a rugby union team made up from the national rugby sides in the Sudamérica Rugby rugby federation.

Chile national rugby union team

The Chile national rugby union team represents Chile in men's international rugby union competitions, nicknamed Los Cóndores, plays in red jerseys and blue shorts, and it's organised by the Chilean Rugby Federation. As of 2019, Chile has not qualified for a Rugby World Cup.

Rugby union in Peru

Rugby union in Peru is a minor but growing sport.

Roberto Canessa Uruguayan rugby union footballer

Roberto Jorge Canessa Urta, M.D., is one of the 16 survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes mountains on 13 October 1972, and a Uruguayan political figure. He was portrayed by Josh Hamilton in the 1993 feature film, Alive.

Ian Campbell is a Chilean former rugby union footballer, of Scottish descent. He played as a fly-half and a centre. To this day, he is still considered one of the best Chilean rugby players of all time, and was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2012.

Football is the most popular sport in Chile. The country's history of association football began with English sailors and their boat trips due to various commercial links between Chile and Great Britain in the 19th century.

Chile–Uruguay relations

Chile–Uruguay relations refers to the current and historical relations between the Republic of Chile and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Both nations are members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Group of 77, Latin American Integration Association, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the United Nations.

Rugby union in Paraguay is a secondary sport. With 4,355 registered players and twenty clubs, the country currently ranks 37th worldwide and 4th in South America.

Rugby union in Switzerland is a minor but growing sport.

Sport in Chile

Sports in Chile are performed at both amateur and professional levels, practiced both at home and abroad to develop and improve, or simply represent the country. Football is the most popular sport in Chile, and is played for a range of reasons. However, the country's most successful sport is tennis. In rural areas, Chilean rodeo is the most practiced sport in Chile, which is the national sport. Chile has achieved great international success in other sports, and there have been important figures, however, such exploits are not known to the general population because they are not sports that have been popular throughout the country.

Old Christians Club, or simply Old Christians, is an Uruguayan sports club from the Carrasco neighbourhood of Montevideo.

Sport in Paraguay is an important part of national culture. Association football is the most popular sport, while basketball is also very popular. Other sports such as volleyball, futsal, swimming and tennis are popular as well. Other Paraguayan sports and pastimes are rugby union, chess, motorsport, golf and rowing.

The 1980 South American Jaguars rugby union tour of South Africa was a series of seven matches played by the South American Jaguars rugby union team in South Africa in April and May 1980. The South American team won five of the matches but lost both that were against the South Africa national rugby union team.

Rugby union and apartheid had a complex and supportive relationship. From 1948 to 1994, international rugby relations with the country, and also the non-integrated nature of rugby within South Africa drew frequent controversy. South Africa remained a member of the International Rugby Board (IRB) throughout the apartheid era.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-09-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 3 4 Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN   1-86200-013-1) p65
  3. Starmer-Smith, p186
  4. Thau, p49
  5. Thau, p52