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Rugby in Chile

Our member Dacre Watson's father, also named Dacre Watson, was British and traveled to Chile at the age of 21 in 1928 as a Chartered Accountant for Price Waterhouse. He fell in love with Chile and fully embraced its culture and way of life. His main job with PW was auditing the "Oficinas" up in the Atacama, where he met Dacre's mother. Unable to afford married life on a PW salary, he joined Mauricio Hoschild Mining, eventually becoming its CFO. Dacre (our member) was born in Valparaiso, but at that time, his parents were living in La Paz, Bolivia, from where they moved back to Santiago in 1949, and it is there that Dacre grew up and attended The Grange School.

As for Rugby, Dacre's father had played to a high standard before he left the UK and played in Chile merely for enjoyment with the PWCC. He represented Chile in rugby on two occasions. Dacre has sent us some images, and we wanted to ask our members if they can identify anyone.

Chile has made it into the World Cup this year for the first time, having secured the spot by defeating the USA. It has been so long since Chile performed this well in rugby; this fantastic news leads us to wish to connect with some historical documents sent by Dacre.

Rugby was introduced by the British in the 19th century, and it is believed that the first people who played it in Chile were the English who worked at the salt mines in Iquique. Rugby was also developed by English private colleges. The first teams appeared in Valparaíso and Santiago de Chile, which later formed the "Unión de Rugby de Chile." The British influence can be noticed by the fact that several of the main Chilean teams have English names.

While some rugby did trickle across the border from Argentina, it was not until the 1920s that the game really became established, particularly around Santiago and Valparaíso.

Chile V Argentina 23 September 1935 Rugby team. Dacre Watson standing fourth from left

Chile V Argentina 27 September 1936. Dinner with both teams

Chile V Argentina 27 September 1936 both teams. Dacre Watson standing 7th from right

Chile V Argentina 23 September 1935

Chile V Argentina 27 September 1936

PWCC visit to Badminton Sports Club, 8 and 9 June 1935


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