"World Cup Debut" - Chile: All You Need to Know About Los Condores - Ruck

“World Cup Debut” – Chile: All You Need to Know About Los Condores

Chile are set to make their Rugby World Cup debut this year, after qualifying for the first time in their history. Los Condores have been drawn into Pool D, and are set to take the fight to England on Saturday 23rd September.

Any Rugby World Cup newcomer brings an added spark of the unknown to the competition. A fresh face in a crowded sea of international rugby’s biggest stars, Chile are the 22nd ranked side in the World Rugby rankings. They enter their first Rugby World Cup ranked lower than two sides who failed to qualify for the tournament (USA – #18, Spain – #20) .

Chile’s Head Coach is former Uruguay international prop Pablo Lemoine, who has previously taken coaching roles with his country, as well as with the German national side. Lemoine’s on-field career saw him represent Bristol, before spending the majority of his career in France with Stade Francais, Montauban and Avenir Valencien.

Chile were last in the World Rugby spotlight, as fly half Rodrigo Fernandez received the award for Men’s Try of the Year. His phenomenal solo try against the United States was crucial in securing Chile their Rugby World Cup spot, and he did so in the most torrential conditions.

Chile’s Road to the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain (#20) and the USA (#18) are seeded higher in the rankings than Chile, yet failed to make it to France. Chile’s road to Rugby World Cup Qualification was full of firsts, with their journey beginning on the 3rd of July 2021. An anticlimactic start saw Round 1 of the South American Qualifiers commence with Chile progressing over a forfeiting Columbia, due to Covid cases in the Columbian side.

Round 2 saw Chile seeded in a pool of three, along with Brazil and Uruguay to determine the winners of the 2021 South American Championship. Chile recorded an impressive 23-13 win over Brazil, through two tries from hooker Augusto Bohme, and the rest of the points coming via the boots of Rodrigo Fernandez and Francisco Urroz.

The Chileans then suffered a troubling set-back, as Uruguay triumphed 15-10 in their second match of the group. However, Los Condores were spared elimination, as Uruguay’s 36-13 victory over Brazil gave Chile a lifeline. Uruguay progressed as the winners of the South American Championship, and secured their spot in the 2023 Rugby World Cup as the Americas 1 seed, following a two-legged play-off triumph over the USA.

Chile progressed to the Americas 2 Repechage round, for a home and away series with Canada. The first match saw Chile take a tough initial defeat, as Canada edged a 22-21 victory in British Columbia. Yet with such a narrow aggregate deficit, it was all to play for in the second match, with Chile capitalising on the home field advantage.

Fly half Santiago Videla Cambiaso had a starring role, as he scored a try and kicked 18 points for a healthy points tally. The additional Chilean tries from Rodriguez and prop Mattius Dittus, established too much daylight for the Canadians, and an eventual 33-24 triumph. Chile had beaten Canada for the first time in their history, with the win coming in their ninth attempt against the North Americans.

This historic Chilean triumph took them into the Americas 2 Qualifier, with a spot at the Rugby World Cup on the line. An incredible two-legged contest against the United States saw the 52-51 overall aggregate score separated by just one point. Chile once again took a 22-21 first leg defeat to North American opposition, presenting a mirror image of their opening loss to Canada.

However, Los Condores again rose to the occasion in the second leg, for a dramatic 31-29 triumph over the USA who were led by Bristol fly half AJ MacGinty. Chile sealed the victory with just five minutes remaining, as Santiago Videla Cambiaso kicked his side to glory from the tee. Tries from scrum half Marcelo Torrealba, centre Mattias Schar, Videla Cambiaso and Dittus were all crucial in Chile’s first victory over the USA since 2002, and their first ever away from home.

2023 Rugby World Cup Squad and Key Players

The majority of the Chilean national team represent Santiago based club Selknam, in the Super Rugby Americas competition (Super Liga Americana de Rugby). Selknam compete in the Super Rugby branded league against club sides from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and the USA. Chile’s captain is flanker Martín Sigren. He played for Selknam in 2020-2022 before moving to Doncaster Knights in the RFU Championship.

Prop Matías Dittus left Selknam for Club Athlétique Périgueux in France’s Pro Rugby D2. Center Iñaki Ayarza also plays in the Pro D2 for Soyaux Angoulême XV, and lock Pablo Huete used to play for Bayonne in the French Top 14, before joining Selknam. The 46-man roster also involves players who missed Super Rugby Americas 2023 through injury. Both second-rower Augusto Sarmiento and winger Franco Velarde have overcome injuries to have been named in Lemoine’s squad.

There are also some uncapped hopefuls in the Chilean squad, with aspirations of making their national 15s team test match debut, before the squad is trimmed down for the World Cup. They include front-rowers Jorge Delgado and Esteban Inostroza, flanker Santiago Edwards, scrum-half Benjamín Videla, fly half Diego Warnken, center Clemente Armstrong, and winger Gaspar Moltedo.

Chile have four Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, before they commence their competition against Japan on September 10th. Los Condores will take on Uruguay, Namibia and two matches against an Argentina XV, before making the trip to France.

Chile Rugby World Cup Wider Training Squad

Javier Carrasco (Selknam)
Vittorio Lastra (Selknam)
Salvador Lues (Selknam)

Augusto Bohme (Selknam)
Jorge Delgado (Selknam)
Simón Donoso (Selknam)
Tomás Dussaillant (Selknam)
Diego Escobar (Selknam)

Lucas Bordigoni (Selknam)
Matías Dittus (Club Athlétique Périgueux, FR)
Ignacio González (Selknam)
Iñaki Gurruchaga (Selknam)
Esteban Inostroza (Selknam)
Marco López (Selknam)

Javier Eissmann (Selknam)
Pablo Huete (Selknam)
Andrés Kuzmanic (Selknam)
Santiago Pedrero (Selknam)
Clemente Saavedra (Selknam)
Bruno Sáez (Selknam)
Augusto Sarmiento (Selknam)

Santiago Edwards (Selknam)
Raimundo Martínez (Selknam)
Thomas Orchard (Selknam)
Martín Sigren (Doncaster Knights) (C)
Ignacio Silva (Selknam)

Alfonso Escobar (Selknam)
Joaquín Milesi (Selknam)

Lukas Carvallo (Selknam)
Nicolás Herreros (Selknam)
Marcelo Torrealba (Selknam)
Benjamín Videla (Selknam)

Rodrigo Fernández (Selknam)
Diego Warnken (Selknam)

Clemente Armstrong (Selknam)
Iñaki Ayarza (Soyaux Angoulême XV Charente, FR)
Pablo Casas (Selknam)
Matías Garafulic (Selknam)
José Ignacio Larenas (Selknam)
Domingo Saavedra (Selknam)

Cristobal Game (Selknam)
Nicolás Garafulic (Selknam)
Gaspar Moltedo (Selknam)
Franco Velarde (Selknam)

Francisco Urroz (Selknam)
Santiago Videla (Selknam)