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Rugby union in Paraguay: Map

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Rugby union in Paraguaymarker is a popular sport. They are currently ranked 37th, with 4,355 registered players, and nineteen clubs.

Governing body

The Rugby Union of Paraguay (Union de Rugby de Paraguay) was founded in 1970, and joined the IRFB in 1989.

History

Rugby in South America is dominated by Argentinamarker, and to a lesser extent Uruguaymarker (who have qualified for the Rugby World Cup) and is most popular in the southern part of the continent. However, rugby can be found in almost all the South American nations, including Paraguay, partly because of massive immigration from Europe, notably the British Isles, France and Italy. Rugby was also introduced to some regions of the continent by the Irish Marist Brothers and their schools.

In the case of Paraguay, however, rugby did not really become established through the waves of European immigration in the 19th and early 20th century, but during the post WWII period. Mineral exploration and mining led to large numbers of foreign nationals being based in the country, from countries as diverse as the UK, Argentina and France. Thus it is difficult to point at one particular nation being the major instigator of Paraguayan rugby, for example, Asuncion Rugby Club was formed by expatriates - two Britons, two Argentines, a Dutchman, and a New Zealander. The New Zealander in question, was one Mr Gallagher [sic], a cattle breeder and distant relative of Dave Gallaher, the famous captain.

The French, however, have taken a special interest in Paraguayan rugby to the point of supplying a paid director of coaching in Jean-Pierre Juan Chich, who later moved to Chile.

The first Paraguayan rugby player of note was Nelson Ayala who played with the English team, Saracens F.C. in the 1950s. He has played a prominent part in developing the game in his home country.

In 1970, a second club was set up in Asuncion, the Club Universitario de Asunción (CURDA), and they toured the UK in the 1980s - the first Paraguayan team to do so. By 1988, there were over twenty rugby clubs in Paraguay, a figure which has remained relatively steady ever since. The main clubs in Paraguay are: CURDA, San José RC, Old King, Leones de Encarnación, Santa Clara, Asunción RC, Universidad Autónoma, Laque, Los Cuervos, Los Jabalíes, Paraná RC., Cristo Rey RC and C.I.T..

Touring sides occasionally visit from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.

See also



External links



References

  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1 86200 013 3)
  • Thau, Chris The South American Scene in Starmer-Smith, Nigel & Robertson, Ian (eds) The Whitbread Rugby World '89 (Lennard Books, 1988 ISBN 1-85291-038)





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