Rugby union in Paraguay

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Rugby union in Paraguay
Governing bodyParaguayan Rugby Union
National team(s)Paraguay
First played1950s
Registered players3,520 [1]
National competitions

Rugby union in Paraguay is a secondary sport. With 4,355 registered players and twenty clubs, the country currently ranks 37th worldwide and 4th in South America.[2]

The Paraguayan Rugby Union (Union de Rugby del Paraguay) was founded in 1970, and joined the IRB in 1989.[3]


The first recorded game of rugby in the country was in the 1930s, between players from Cerro Porteño and Olimpia (the country's two biggest football clubs). Further development of the game was sporadic.

Asuncion Rugby Club, the country's first official rugby club, was formed in the late 1960s by two Britons, two Argentines, a Dutchman, and a New Zealander.[4] They played informal games in the Jardin Botanico (Botanic Gardens of Asuncion) and travelled to Argentina for games.

In 1970 a second club was set up in Asuncion, the Club Universitario de Asunción (CURDA). Further clubs were established in the 1970s and 1980s.

The sport's governing body, the Paraguayan Rugby Union (Union de Rugby del Paraguay), was founded in 1970 and joined the IRFB in 1989.[3]

The traditional stronghold of Paraguayan rugby has been the capital, Asuncion, where the majority of clubs have been based. However Since 2000 a number of Asuncion clubs have folded, combined, or struggled to field teams in both Primera (First Grade of the Paraguayan Rugby Union Championship) and Intermedia (reserve grade).

In 2013 the teams in Primera were all from Asuncion: CURDA, San Jose, Old King Club, Luque, Cristo Rey, Universidad Autonoma de Asuncion, and Santa Clara.

Las Leones de Encarnacion, from the south of the country, competed in Primera until 2009 when they switched to compete in the URNE championship of Northern Argentina. Encarnacion is a riverside city opposite the Argentine city of Posadas. Las Leones often fielded a strong team in Primera, but they are closer to the Posadas, Corrientes and Resistencia, than to Asuncion (a 5-hour bus trip). While strong at home they often struggled to field a competitive team when traveling to Asuncion every second week for Primera. They have since won the URNE championship.

Since 2010 there has been strong growth in both women's rugby and rugby outside of and in the outskirts of Asuncion. Traditionally teams such as Ciudad del Este and Coronel Oviedo played only occasionally, or fielded a team in Intermedia or Primera where they often struggled. In 2010 a separate "Campeonato del Interior" was established, in which developing clubs from the countryside played. Teams include Santani, Coronel Oviedo, Villarica, Ciudad del Este and Presidente Franco.

All Primera teams are now obliged to field a women's team. The women play 7-a-side rugby with mini 7 a side championships held every couple of weeks.

From 2013 a separate Campeonato Metropolitano (Metropolitan Championship) was also established, for new developing teams from Asuncion which could not yet compete in Primera. Teams include San Lorenzo, Capiata, Asuncion, and Sajonia.


Traditionally Paraguayan rugby clubs have fielded teams in Primera and/or Intermedia. In recent years a Campeonato del Interior (Countryside Club Championship) and Campeonato Metropolitano (Metropolitan Championship) have been formed for developing clubs and clubs in rural areas.

Primera Teams also usually field Under 18, Under 16, Under 14 and Junior teams, and, as of recently, women's rugby teams.

Paraguayan Rugby Clubs[edit]

  • Primera Division 2022 (First Division)
Name Nickname Nickname in English Location
CURDA Los Buhos The Owls Asunción
Luque Chanchitos The Pigs Luque
Santa Clara Rinocerontes Rhinoceros Asunción
Cristo Rey Ñandus Rhea Birds Asunción
San Jose Bulldogs Bulldogs Asunción
  • Intermedia 2022 (2nd Division)
Name Nickname Nickname in English Location
Asunción RC El Decano The Dean Asunción
CURDA (Reserves) Los Buhos The Owls Asunción
Jabalíes Jabalíes Boars Luque
Luque (Reserves) Chanchitos The Pigs Luque
Santa Clara (Reserves) Rinocerontes Rhinoceros Asunción
Cristo Rey (Reserves) Ñandus Rhea Birds Asunción
Old King Club Viejos Reyes Old Kings Asunción
San Jose (Reserves) Bulldogs Bulldogs Asunción
  • Campeonato del Interior (Countryside Championship)
Name Location
CRACO Coronel Oviedo
Presidente Franco Presidente Franco
Santani Rugby Club Santani
Area 1 Rugby Club Ciudad del Este
Hernandarias Rugby Club Hernandarias
Taguató Villarica
Area 1 Rugby Club Ciudad del Este
San Juan San Juan Nepomuceno
Saguaa Rugby Club Ciudad de Caaguazú
San Roque San Roque
  • Campeonato Metropolitano (Metropolitan Championship)
Universidad Autonoma
San Lorenzo
  • Encarnación Rugby Club "Las Leones de Encarnación" compete in the URNE rugby Championship which is part of the Argentine Rugby Union.

There are several former clubs which no longer exist, such as Los Cuervos, Jabalí and Yakaré.

Senior Paraguayan Rugby Championship[edit]

Year Champions Second place
2021 CURDA San José
2020 not played
2019 CURDA San José
2018 CURDA Luque
2017 CURDA Luque
2016 CURDA Luque
2015 Luque CURDA
2014 Luque Santa Clara
2013 CURDA Santa Clara
2012 CURDA Luque
2011 Luque Santa Clara
2010 Cristo Rey Luque
2009 CURDA Luque
2008 CURDA Yacht
2007 CURDA Santa Clara
2006 CURDA Yacht
2005 CURDA San José
2004 CURDA (Yellow) CURDA (Black)
2003 San José CURDA
2002 San José Santa Clara
2001 San José Santa Clara
2000 CURDA San José
1999 CURDA Encarnacion RC
1998 San José
1997 Old King
1996 San José
1995 CURDA San José
1994 CURDA San José
1993 San José
1992 San José
1991 San José
1990 San José
1989 San José
1988 San José
1987 San José
1986 CURDA
1985 CURDA
1984 CURDA
1983 CURDA
1982 CURDA
1981 CURDA
1980 CURDA
1979 CURDA
1978 CURDA
1977 CURDA
1976 CURDA
1975 CURDA
1974 CURDA
1973 CURDA
1972 CURDA
1971 CURDA Asunción
1970 Asunción CURDA

Women's rugby[edit]

As mentioned above, women's rugby in Paraguay involves the teams from Primera fielding Seven-a-side teams. To play in Primera teams are obliged to field a women's team, which has spurred on the development of the sport for women.

The teams involved are CURDA, San Jose, Cristo Rey, Santa Clara, Universidad Autonoma de Asuncion, Old King Club, and Luque.

Old King Club has dominated women's rugby in Paraguay, winning every women's championship and providing the bulk of the Paraguayan Women's Seven-a-side team. Both Old King Club and the National Women's Team are coached by Victor Velilla.

Although Paraguay's women have not yet played a full 15 a sive test match, they have been playing international sevens rugby since 2004. In 2013 they came 8th and last in the CONSUR South American Women's Sevens Championship.

Paraguayans Playing Abroad[edit]

Several Paraguayans have played overseas.

In France, Cesar Meilike, Jatar Fernandez, Fabio Franco and Emiliano Arnau played for Strasbourg, and José Otaño and Joel Orihuela for US CENAC, at Fédérale 2, and Freddy Lares and Miguel Jara for Houilles Carrilies at Fédérale 3.

In Germany several Paraguayans have played in Bundesliga 1 including Juan Caba Cabañas, Fabio Franco, Willians Portillo and Oscar Merino.

In Spain Willians Portillo (Madrid), Javier Morinigo (San Cugat – Barcelona, ex-Albertong de Sudafrica), Igor Huerta (Universidad de Málaga), Jorge Ocampo (CEU Rugby Barcelona) and Emiliano Arnau (Rugby Lavila) have played.

Diego Sotelo and Gonzalo Sanches played College Rugby Division 1 in the United States.

Alex Sharman is an Australian-born naturalized Paraguayan who played for Paraguay and the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia), Falkirk (Scotland), Hinckley and Clifton Rugby Clubs (England), St. Louis Ramblers (USA) and Rugby La Vila (Spain).

For several reasons these overseas players often aren't available to play for Paraguay, but in 2009 Joel Orihuela and Juan Cabanas returned to South America for the South American Championships in Montevideo, and in 2010 Jose Otano, Diego Sotelo played for Paraguay in the South American Championship in Santiago de Chile.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1)
  • Thau, Chris The South American Scene in Starmer-Smith, Nigel & Robertson, Ian (eds) The Whitbread Rugby World '89 (Lennard Books, 1988 ISBN 1-85291-038-0)
  1. ^ "International Rugby Board - PARAGUAY". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  2. ^ IRB retrieved 8 July 2009
  3. ^ a b Bath, p72
  4. ^ Thau, p52