Rugby World Cup 2023 is rapidly approaching, with just under two weeks until the opening game. Rugby.com.au examines every team’s chances in France, looking at Argentina.
Chile will become the 26th nation to participate at the Rugby World Cup.
Los Cóndores have made a fairytale run to the hallmark event, stunning the USA after the siren before holding off Canada to book their place.
They are under the tutelage of former Uruguay player Pablo Lemoine, who has turned around the fortunes of the side in the 2020s and is guiding through a golden generation of Chilean talent largely playing for Super Rugby Americas team Selknam,
Given their story, it’s easy to see why they will be many fans’ second team in France as the team searches for a historic upset.
How they qualified
Qualified as ‘Americas 2’ after defeating USA 52-51 on aggregate in the Repechage with a penalty goal to Santiago Videla in the 75th minute of their two-leg series
Chile’s run to the World Cup was nothing short of miraculous. They originally finished second in the 2021 South American Championship, defeating Brazil whilst losing to Uruguay.
This got them into the Americas 2 Repechage, with a 33-24 win over Canada in the second leg booking their spot in the qualifier against the much-fancied USA. They shrugged off a narrow 22-21 loss to the Americans, heading to Colorado with nothing to lose as they took a historic 31-29 win to secure their place.
In the lead-up to the World Cup, they have dropped narrow losses to Uruguay (26-25) and Namibia (28-26), with the Namibians scoring 21 unanswered points in ten minutes to steal victory
Head coach Pablo Lemoine has confirmed his squad for Chile’s first Rugby World Cup.
The majority of the current squad play domestically for Chile’s Super Rugby Americas team Selknam, founded in 2019.
Martín Sigren will captain the side, with three additional players set to be named
Backs: Augusto Böhme, Javier Carrasco, Matías Dittus, Tomás Dussaillant, Javier Eissmann, Alfonso Escobar, Diego Escobar, Iñaki Gurruchaga, Pablo Huere, Esteban Inostroza, Salvador Lues, Raimundo Martínez, Santiago Pedrero, Clemente Saavedra, Augusto Sarmiento, Martín Sigren (c), Ignacio Silva
Forwards: Iñaki Ayarza, Lukas Carvallo, Pablo Casas, Rodrigo Fernández, Matías Garafulic, Nicolás Garafulic, José Ignacio Larenas, Dimongo Saavedra, Marcelo Torrealba, Francisco Urroz, Franco Velarde, Benjamín Videla, Santiago Videla
You may not know the name of Rodrigo Fernandez but you have most likely seen his incredible try against the USA.
Fernandez scored one of the best wet weather tries in the history of the game, slicing through at least eight defenders to score what would be named International Rugby Players Men’s Try of the Year.
The 27-year-old is the key piece of their backline, splitting time between flyhalf and fullback and will look to guide the side to a famous victory
Breakthrough Player to Watch
Iñaki Ayarza is amongst several young Chileans starting to make a name for themselves.
Ayarza showcased his talent on the Sevens circuit before being picked up by Soyaux Angoulême XV in the Pro D2 in France.
His versatility is a major strength, having played on both wings and centres along with at fullback in 2023.
World Cup history
First ever appearance
Game to watch – Argentina
The game against Argentina will make history as the first all-South American match at the Rugby World Cup.
The two teams have a one-sided history, with Argentina winning all 39 matches. Even more recently, an Argentina XV thumped Chile 40-13 in August,
However, what both teams (and their fans) will bring is significant noise and excitement, making this game one of the more exciting fixtures on the schedule
Sun Sep 10 (9:00 PM): Japan v Chile, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
Sat Sep 16 (11:00 PM): Samoa v Chile, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Sun Sep 24 (1:45 AM): England v Chile, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
Sat Sep 30 (11:00 PM): Argentina v Chile, Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes