Chile and its revolution to reach the Rugby World Cup 2023: how was the reconstruction and what are the secrets of the big surprise

Chilean rugby was going through one of its worst moments When he was in the last stage of 2018 Uruguay Paul Lemon He arrived to take charge of the restructuring, in addition to taking over as coach of the select team. In November of that year, Maori gave All Blacks a knockout blow to Los Condores: 73-0, In a test conducted in San Carlos de Abukindo. It was the physical strength that the locals received that drove many of these players out. “You can’t fall”summarizes Lemoine, who adds: “From there we started; that was kilometer 0. Less than four years later, Chile has qualified for the first time in its history to the World Cup. He will be in France 2023 in the same group with Argentina, England, Japan and Samoa.

In August of 2018, two months after he resigned from the leadership of Pumas, Daniel Hurkid He took over as the High Performance Manager for South American Rugby, the entity that received a major boost from the hand of Agustín Pichot. One of Tucuman’s first decisions was to recommend Lemoine to take charge of the operation in Chile. “The great change in Chile was mental. Everything went in my head and happened much faster than expected,” says who is now responsible, through World Rugby, for the export of the region’s model to Spain and Portugal. South America won the two contested places – the other Uruguay took in a duel with Canada – and for the first time in history it would be It has three teams in the World Cup.

Uruguayan Pablo Lemoine, the brain behind the Chilean classification

Chile has people of all ages and from all walks of life playing rugby all over the country. You have a rugby club, schools, social, recreational, fifteen, seven, women. But everything was very chaotic and there was practically no high competition. That is why I say we started from failure,” says Lemoine from his home in the Parque Miramar neighborhood, on the outskirts of Montevideo. He points out another difficulty he faced: “There was also a strong elitism that put up barriers, something like ‘leave us as we are,’ which was It has to be overcome.”

An emotional moment after the World Cup dream came true: the players sing the Chilean anthem in the hotel pool
An emotional moment after the World Cup dream came true: the players sing the Chilean anthem in the hotel pool

Hurcade said in 2018 that Lemoyne was the perfect man to rebuild rugby in Chile. With the primary support of the then South American Rugby Federation president, Sebastian Pinerua, Lemoine was the head of a four-year project that brought Uruguay back to the World Cup finals in 2015. This long-term work was repeated in 2019, and in 2023 Teros will be in three consecutive World Cups for the first time.

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“We arrived in Chile with the experience of what we did in Uruguay. We also start from a very low level. We fell so much that we only lived to remember the 2003 World Cup. That’s how we were when we started in 2011 ». Lemoine summoned the person who accompanied him in the process, compatriot Emiliano Cavira. . Argentinians Nicolas Prozzoni, Rodolfo Ambrosio and Federico Todicini joined in Chilean Ricardo Cortez. They also mentioned mental training and at some point during the preparations for the qualifiers they hired the Argentine Alejandro Onto Gauna.

Emotion when singing the Chilean anthem
Emotion when singing the Chilean anthemTwitter

Pablo Lemoine – a surname of French origin, but with Italian ancestry – born on March 1, 1975 was one of the Uruguayans who gained the greatest prominence in professional rugby. A very strong prop, with Teros playing the World Cup Finals in 1999 and 2003. His club is Montevideo Cricket Club – one of the oldest in the world, founded in 1861 – and from there he went on to play for Bristol in England – 1998 until 2000 – spending six seasons later in Stade Français, where he was a two-time Top 14 champion. He was a teammate of several Pumas such as Pichot, Ignacio Corleto, Felipe Contepomi and Rodrigo Roncero, among others. He continued on other Pro2 teams and retired from his club. The last fight was in November 2010, when Teros lost the chance to go to New Zealand 2011 against Romania.

hymn blessing

In this historical classification of Chile, Lemoine particularly highlights the importance of SLAR and South American Rugby in terms of affiliation. “In the midst of the pandemic, the territory has come together like no other in the world. Everything was uncertain but SLAR was still putting together, with bubbles and thousands of difficulties, but we played it. We work together with the same goal, which is the growth of rugby above all else. I think we sent a very strong message to the rest of the countries.” The other side is North America, which has always looked the other way. Canada lost first to Uruguay and then to Chile. He stayed abroad. The United States fell into the hands of the Chileans – “they underestimated them.” , Hurkid added – and now they will have to look for the last remaining spot in a race on their home ground in Dubai with Portugal, Kenya and Hong Kong.

Chile players rejoice in the crucial 2023 qualifier
Chile players rejoice in the crucial 2023 qualifierTwitter

In these years and in those to come to France, Lemoyne spent his time back and forth from Uruguay to Chile. But his broadcaster and his family – his wife and three children – are in Montevideo. “Now I have the area that I like the least, which is the administrative area, but everything related to participation in the World Cup has to be organized: from logistics to marketing and journalism. For the competition, in July we will play with the South Pacific islands and some friendly islands, but not A lot. On September 2 we will be in France.”

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President Gabriel Borek and Minister of Sports Alexandra Benado welcomed the Chilean rugby team at La Moneda Palace. Both promised to help the state for rugby. “It could become the second sport in the country. The way was opened. Now comes the task of preserving and expanding it”, concludes Lemoine, the architect of the thing he himself defines: “The players took the impossible and made it possible.”. Sport is able to generate these stories.

The trans-Andean team will rival Puma in Group D for France 2023, as well as England, Japan and Samoa.
The trans-Andean team will rival Puma in Group D for France 2023, as well as England, Japan and Samoa.

Amber Cross

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