Argentine Rugby Union
|Unión Argentina de Rugby|
|Founded||10 April 1899
(as "River Plate Rugby Championship") 1
|Men's coach||Santiago Phelan|
The Argentine Rugby Union (Spanish: Unión Argentina de Rugby, abbreviated "UAR") is the governing body for Rugby union in Argentina. It is a member of the International Rugby Board with a seat on that body's Executive Council.
The UAR organises the Argentina national rugby union team, also known as Los Pumas.
The first rugby match in Argentina was played in 1873, in the Buenos Aires Cricket Club Ground sited in Palermo, Buenos Aires. Only 24 players (all of them were English) could met to dispute the match. The teams were named Bancos ("Banks" in Spanish) and Ciudad ("City") and formed with 11 and 13 players respectively.
That same year, another match was played in the Polo Field of Flores AC, in a land property of the Unzué family. The teams were called Inglaterra ("England") and El Mundo ("The World"). The first team was formed by Royal Navy officers that were temporarily in Buenos Aires, with the addition of some English citizens who resided in Argentina. Its rival was formed by English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish people plus some Argentine-born players of English descent.
On May 14, 1874, the Rugby Football Union rules were adopted to play rugby in Argentina. Those rules were used for the first time during the match disputed at Buenos Aires Cricket Club between two teams from that institution. The teams were called El bando del Sr. Trench ("Mr. Trench's side"), and El bando del Sr. Hogg ("Mr. Hogg's side").2
Nevertheless, other sources say that the first game under the rules of rugby was played on Thursday, 14 May 1874, in the David Mathven's country house, placed in Caballito, Buenos Aires.34 Buenos Aires FC also played the first inter-provincial rugby game in Argentina, when it faced Rosario AC in the city of Rosario, on 28 June 1886.5
In 1899, clubs Belgrano AC, Rosario AC, Lomas AC, and Buenos Aires FC founded the "River Plate Rugby Championship", which would become today's Argentine Rugby Union.1 The body organized the first championship that same year, played by the four founding members. In the inaugural game, Lomas defeated Buenos Aires by 11-4.6 Lomas would be the first Argentine champion, winning the title at the end of the season.4
The sport requested an affiliation with the International Olympic Committee (COI), who advised them to add Argentina to their name and so they became the "Unión Argentina de Rugby" on 29 November 1951.
When the rest of the rugby union world went professional in 1995, the UAR decided to keep the game amateur. Argentine players who opt to go overseas to play professionally (historically in Italy and France, with an increasing number today playing in England) remain eligible for national team selection (although this was not originally the case), and the current national team is heavily, though not exclusively, made up of European-based players.
The Union had different names through the years. Them are detailed below:1
- River Plate Rugby Championship (1899-1908)
- The River Plate Rugby Union (1908–31)
- Unión de Rugby del Río de la Plata (1931–51)
- Unión Argentina de Rugby (1951–present)
- "Hechos históricos de la Unión" at UAR website
- "Historia del rugby en Argentina" by Horacio Spinetto, Todo es Historia magazine Nº 295
- "1867: 140º Aniversario del primer partido de fútbol disputado en Sudamérica" by Víctor Raffo, 2007
- "Historia del Club" - BACRC website
- "Cuando el Rosario Athletic salió campeón... de fútbol" - CIHF
- "Leslie Corry Smith, el primer referee oficial de Argentina", by Rubén Ayala at Lomas AC website
- Deges, Frankie. "Argentina is now part of Rugby Championship". Buenos Aires Herald. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- International Rugby Board - World Rankings: Full world rankings