Rugby union in Paraguay

Last updated

Rugby union in Paraguay
Governing bodyParaguayan Rugby Union
National team(s) Paraguay
First played1950s
Registered players3,520 [1]
National competitions

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. [2]


The Paraguayan Rugby Union (Union de Rugby del Paraguay) was founded in 1970, and joined the IRB in 1989. [3]


The first recorded game of rugby in the country was in the 1930s, between players from Cerro Porteño and Olimpia (the country's two biggest football clubs). Further development of the game was sporadic.

Asuncion Rugby Club, the country's first official rugby club, was formed in the late 1960s by two Britons, two Argentines, a Dutchman, and a New Zealander. [4] They played informal games in the Jardin Botanico (Botanic Gardens of Asuncion) and travelled to Argentina for games.

In 1970 a second club was set up in Asuncion, the Club Universitario de Asunción (CURDA). Further clubs were established in the 1970s and 1980s.

The sport's governing body, the Paraguayan Rugby Union (Union de Rugby del Paraguay), was founded in 1970 and joined the IRFB in 1989. [3]

The traditional stronghold of Paraguayan rugby has been the capital, Asuncion, where the majority of clubs have been based. However Since 2000 a number of Asuncion clubs have folded, combined, or struggled to field teams in both Primera (First Grade of the Paraguayan Rugby Union Championship) and Intermedia (reserve grade).

In 2013 the teams in Primera were all from Asuncion: CURDA, San Jose, Old King Club, Luque, Cristo Rey, Universidad Autonoma de Asuncion, and Santa Clara.

Las Leones de Encarnacion, from the south of the country, competed in Primera until 2009 when they switched to compete in the URNE championship of Northern Argentina. Encarnacion is a riverside city opposite the Argentine city of Posadas. Las Leones often fielded a strong team in Primera, but they are closer to the Posadas, Corrientes and Resistencia, than to Asuncion (a 5-hour bus trip). While strong at home they often struggled to field a competitive team when traveling to Asuncion every second week for Primera. They have since won the URNE championship.

Since 2010 there has been strong growth in both women's rugby and rugby outside of and in the outskirts of Asuncion. Traditionally teams such as Ciudad del Este and Coronel Oviedo played only occasionally, or fielded a team in Intermedia or Primera where they often struggled. In 2010 a separate "Campeonato del Interior" was established, in which developing clubs from the countryside played. Teams include Santani, Coronel Oviedo, Villarica, Ciudad del Este and Presidente Franco.

All Primera teams are now obliged to field a women's team. The women play 7-a-side rugby with mini 7 a side championships held every couple of weeks.

From 2013 a separate Campeonato Metropolitano (Metropolitan Championship) was also established, for new developing teams from Asuncion which could not yet compete in Primera. Teams include San Lorenzo, Capiata, Asuncion, and Sajonia.


Traditionally Paraguayan rugby clubs have fielded teams in Primera and/or Intermedia. In recent years a Campeonato del Interior (Countryside Club Championship) and Campeonato Metropolitano (Metropolitan Championship) have been formed for developing clubs and clubs in rural areas.

Primera Teams also usually field Under 18, Under 16, Under 14 and Junior teams, and, as of recently, women's rugby teams.

Paraguayan Rugby Clubs

NameNicknameNickname in EnglishLocation
CURDALos BuhosThe OwlsAsunción
LuqueChanchitosThe PigsLuque
Santa ClaraRinocerontesRhinocerosAsunción
Old King ClubViejos ReyesOld KingsAsunción
Cristo ReyÑandusRhea BirdsAsunción
Universidad Autonoma..Asunción
San JoseBulldogsBulldogsAsunción
CRACOCoronel Oviedo
Presidente FrancoPresidente Franco
Santani Rugby ClubSantani
Area 1 Rugby ClubCiudad del Este
Hernandarias Rugby ClubHernandarias
Area 1 Rugby ClubCiudad del Este
San JuanSan Juan Nepomuceno
Saguaa Rugby ClubCiudad de Caaguazú
San RoqueSan Roque
Asunción Rugby Club
San Lorenzo

There are several former clubs which no longer exist, such as Los Cuervos, Jabalí and Yakaré.

Senior Paraguayan Rugby Championship

YearChampionsSecond Place
2014LuqueSanta Clara
2013CURDASanta Clara
2011LuqueSanta Clara
2010Cristo ReyLuque
2007CURDASanta Clara
2005CURDASan José
2004CURDA (Yellow)CURDA (Black)
2003San JoséCURDA
2002San JoséSanta Clara
2001San JoséSanta Clara
2000CURDASan José
1999CURDAEncarnacion RC
1998San José
1997Old King
1996San José
1995CURDASan José
1994CURDASan José
1993San José
1992San José
1991San José
1990San José
1989San José
1988San José
1987San José
1985San José
1980CURDA y San José

Women's rugby

As mentioned above, women's rugby in Paraguay involves the teams from Primera fielding Seven-a-side teams. To play in Primera teams are obliged to field a women's team, which has spurred on the development of the sport for women.

The teams involved are CURDA, San Jose, Cristo Rey, Santa Clara, Universidad Autonoma de Asuncion, Old King Club, and Luque.

Old King Club has dominated women's rugby in Paraguay, winning every women's championship and providing the bulk of the Paraguayan Women's Seven-a-side team. Both Old King Club and the National Women's Team are coached by Victor Velilla.

Although Paraguay's women have not yet played a full 15 a sive test match, they have been playing international sevens rugby since 2004. In 2013 they came 8th and last in the CONSUR South American Women's Sevens Championship.

Paraguayans Playing Abroad

Several Paraguayans have played overseas.

In France, Cesar Meilike, Jatar Fernandez, Fabio Franco and Emiliano Arnau played for Strasbourg, and José Otaño and Joel Orihuela for US CENAC, at Fédérale 2, and Freddy Lares and Miguel Jara for Houilles Carrilies at Fédérale 3.

In Germany several Paraguayans have played in Bundesliga 1 including Juan Caba Cabañas, Fabio Franco, Willians Portillo and Oscar Merino.

In Spain Willians Portillo (Madrid), Javier Morinigo (San Cugat – Barcelona, ex-Albertong de Sudafrica), Igor Huerta (Universidad de Málaga), Jorge Ocampo (CEU Rugby Barcelona) and Emiliano Arnau (Rugby Lavila) have played.

Diego Sotelo and Gonzalo Sanches played College Rugby Division 1 in the United States.

Alex Sharman is an Australian-born naturalized Paraguayan who played for Paraguay and the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia), Falkirk (Scotland), Hinckley and Clifton Rugby Clubs (England), St. Louis Ramblers (USA) and Rugby La Vila (Spain).

For several reasons these overseas players often aren't available to play for Paraguay, but in 2009 Joel Orihuela and Juan Cabanas returned to South America for the South American Championships in Montevideo, and in 2010 Jose Otano, Diego Sotelo played for Paraguay in the South American Championship in Santiago de Chile.

See also

Related Research Articles

Club Atlético San Isidro

The Club Atlético de San Isidro is an Argentine sports club based in the city of San Isidro in Greater Buenos Aires. Originally established as a football club, San Isidro has gained recognition for its rugby union team, holding a record of 33 Torneo de la URBA championships. The senior squad currently competes at Top 12, the top division of the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires league system.

The División Profesional de la Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol, also known as the Primera División[pɾiˈmeɾa ðiβiˈsjon], or due to sponsorship reasons Copa de Primera TIGO-Visión Banco, is the top-flight professional football league in Paraguay. Currently, there are 10 teams in the first division.

Paraguay national rugby union team

The Paraguay national rugby team is governed by the Paraguayan Rugby Union. They compete regularly in the South American Rugby Championship, but have yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup.

Football is by far the most popular sport in Paraguay to the point that it is part of the nation's culture.

The Paraguayan football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for football clubs in Paraguay.

Lomas Athletic Club

Lomas Athletic Club is an Argentine sports club from the Lomas de Zamora district of Greater Buenos Aires. One of Argentina's oldest clubs still in existence, Lomas is one of the four institutions that founded the "River Plate Rugby Championship" in 1899, The rugby union team currently plays in Primera A, the second division of the URBA league system.

Tercera División de Paraguay, is the third division of Paraguayan football (soccer), and it is organized by the Paraguayan Football Association in the metropolitan area, and organized by the Unión del Fútbol del Interior, in the rest of the country, except Asunción and Central department.

Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires

Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima is an Argentine multi-sports club placed in the city of Buenos Aires. The institution is one of the oldest in the country, having been established in 1880. Gimnasia y Esgrima is also one of the largest clubs of Argentina, with around 30 different disciplines hosted in the three buildings that the institution owns in Buenos Aires.

The 1967 Primera División season was the 76th season of top-flight football in Argentina. It was the first season in which the Metropolitano and Nacional championships format was used.

Club Atlético del Rosario is an Argentine sports club from Rosario, Santa Fe. One of the oldest clubs still in existence in the country, Atlético del Rosario was a pioneer of football in Rosario, being the first team from that city to play in Primera División, the top division of the Argentine football league system. At the international level, Rosario A.C. was also the first team outside Buenos Aires to win an international tournament, the Tie Cup on three occasions. Atlético was also a founding member of the Liga Rosarina de Football, the main body that organised the practice of association football in Rosario from 1905 to 1930.

The 2009 División Profesional season is the 75th season of top-flight professional football in Paraguay. It is the second season in which a champion will be crowned for each tournament.

Belgrano Athletic Club

Belgrano Athletic Club is an Argentine amateur sports club from Belgrano, Buenos Aires. One of Argentina's oldest institutions still in existence, Belgrano was one of the four clubs that founded the Argentine Rugby Union in 1899. The senior team currently competes at Top 12, the first division of the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires league system.

Buenos Aires Cricket & Rugby Club Sports club

Buenos Aires Cricket & Rugby Club, sometimes known simply as Buenos Aires, is an Argentine sports club based in San Fernando, Buenos Aires. Having set its official date of foundation on December 8, 1864, the club claims to be the oldest club still in existence in Argentina, according to reports of a cricket match played by the club in Recoleta, Buenos Aires, in 1831.

Club San Fernando

Club San Fernando is an Argentine multi-sports club based in San Fernando, Buenos Aires. One of the largest clubs of the North side of Greater Buenos Aires, the club hosts a wide range of sports and activities, such as basketball, basque pelota, bowls, canoe racing, chess, field hockey, football, gymnastics, judo, rowing rugby union, swimming, tennis, volleyball and yachting.

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.

Also see Chilean Cuarta Division.

Alex Sharman is an Australian Paraguayan retired rugby union player who played for the University of Sydney, Falkirk (Scotland), Hinckley and Clifton Rugby Clubs (England), St. Louis Ramblers (USA), Rugby La Vila (Spain), San Jose Rugby Club and CURDA (Paraguay) and the Paraguay national rugby union team. Alex was the first Australian born player to represent Paraguay in rugby.

The 2015 División Profesional season is the 81st season of top-flight professional football in Paraguay.

The 2021 División Profesional season will be the 87th season of the Paraguayan Primera División, the top-flight professional football league in Paraguay. The season is scheduled to begin on 5 February and end on 5 December 2021. The fixtures for the season will be announced on 15 January 2021. Olimpia will be the defending champions after winning the 2020 Clausura tournament.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. IRB retrieved 8 July 2009
  3. 1 2 Bath, p72
  4. Thau, p52