- The Webb Ellis Cup visited Santiago, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso during stop 18 of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour
- Hundreds of fans had the chance to see the trophy up close during the three-day visit
- Get into Rugby Festival, Mackay School visit and Minister for Sport visits among the many highlights
- Trophy attended a celebration of Ian and Donald Campbell, two World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees
- Tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 are currently on general sale at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com
Hundreds of rugby fans joined the celebration in Chile this week for the Webb Ellis Cup’s first-ever visit to the country during the 18th stop of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour.
Rugby’s most coveted prize was on show across Santiago, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso where it stopped at the Chilean Rugby Union training ground, attended a Get Into Rugby festival for local clubs and visited iconic Valparaiso and one of the oldest schools in Chile.
The first event in the calendar was a visit to the Chilean Rugby Union and a Get Into Rugby festival, where academy players were on hand to inspire the next generation of players. In the presence of the Webb Ellis Cup and against a spectacular backdrop, with views all the way to the Andes, teams tried passing, tackling and scoring at this grassroots festival.
Chile's national sides have been making strong progress in recent years and they are an ambitious union. The naming of Pablo Lemoine as Los Condores’ head coach is a statement of intent. Lemoine is a rugby legend in his native Uruguay and as a player he won 50 caps for Los Teros, appearing at Rugby World Cup 1999 and 2003.
The Chilean Rugby Union has plans to build on recent successes and carry on growing over the coming years. Last year, the men’s sevens team played at Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, where they recorded victories over Tonga, Uganda and Hong Kong to win the Bowl, while this year the side reached the Challenge Trophy final at the USA Sevens as the invitational team.
The women’s sevens side, who were training next to the Get Into Rugby festival, took a break from their preparations for the Tokyo 2020 qualifier in Lima to have their photo taken with the trophy.
Next stop was Vina del Mar and The Mackay School. The school is one of the oldest in Chile and the backdrop for the Vina Del Mar Sevens tournament in recent years, one of two venues on the Sudamerica Rugby Sevens circuit, the other being Punta del Este in Uruguay. During the event, school teams from the Valparaiso region took part in a training session and members of the local club Old Mackayans took the opportunity to snap a selfie with the trophy. Following the events, the trophy headed to Valparaiso for some iconic photography at this World Heritage Site. An important sea port, Valparaiso is characterised by hillsides of colourful buildings and made a spectacular backdrop for the Webb Ellis Cup.
On Friday morning, the trophy visited the seat of the Chilean government, Palacio de la Moneda, where the trophy took centre stage for photos in front of this iconic building. Chile’s Minister for Sport Pauline Kantor attended and showed a notable interest and support for the growth of rugby.
The final stop of the tour was the Prince of Wales Country Club, where children from local schools were given the chance to have their photo taken up close with the trophy, followed by a lunch where members and guests came together in celebration of two World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees, Donald and Ian Campbell.
Ian Campbell, born on 15 May, 1928 in Santiago, was fly-half, centre and captain of both the Santiago “Prince of Wales" Club and the Chile national team. He started playing rugby towards the end of the Second World War at Saint Peter’s School in Valparaiso, following in the footsteps of older brother Donald, who also represented both sides with distinction.
Ian and Donald were of Scottish descent, the sons of Colin Campbell, a businessman and amateur soccer player who represented Chile in the 1910 Soccer South American Championship. Donald Campbell made his debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1938 as a fast and powerfully built centre. The match was Chile’s third international and he played once more for his country before volunteering to join the Royal Air Force as the Second World War took hold. Donald died in action in 1943, while his teenage brother Ian was cutting his teeth in the intensely competitive Santiago rugby scene. Ian went on to captain Chile for 15 years, retiring from the international game in 1961, but continuing to play for the Prince of Wales Club well into the 1970s.
Ian Campbell was delighted to see the Webb Ellis Cup in Chile during the event and said: “Having the Webb Ellis Cup here in Chile is a real honour. Chile is still a fairly small rugby country but the sport is growing here, with rugby having caught on well during my lifetime. I hope that current teams are inspired by the Trophy Tour and that we will see teams from Chile playing at Rugby World Cup in the future.”
At the end of the tour, Chile Rugby President Jorge Araya said: “We are grateful to World Rugby for bringing the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour to Chile for the first time. It is a testament to the positive work happening here to grow the game and continue to improve our high performance programme. With Olympic qualifier tournaments in the near future, we are confident that we will continue to build upon our success to date, and having the trophy in Chile has undoubtedly inspired players and fans, young and old.”
The final international stop in the Trophy Tour calendar sees the Webb Ellis Cup travel to Argentina, before returning to Japan to embark on a 100-day tour of the host nation before the start of the tournament on 20 September. To view the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour schedule, visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/trophy-tour
Demand for Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets has been unprecedented with over five million ticket applications received to date. Fans now have the opportunity to secure their place at Japan 2019 as the last remaining tickets are available via www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.