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Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

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Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby ficcp » Tue, 08 Jan 2019, 20:01

Rapa Nui (the name Easter Island is being left aside) is a territory part of Chile located in the South Pacific (27° 9' 10 '' South and 109° 27' 17'' West). The distance to Santiago is 3.759 kms and to Tahiti of 4.253 kms., it is the most isolated place in the World. The population is 7.800 inhabitants, half of them of polinesic descent.

Rapa Nui culture has strong ties with the original culture of other pacific island such as Tahiti, Hawai, New Zeland, Fidji, Samoa and Tonga. They share traditions (like the inmigration eastwards), they have similar musical expressions and similarities in their languages due to a common origin.
The physical biotype of the rapanui people is also similar to the PI people, being on average much taller than the chilean average.

Several attempts to introduce and develope Rugby have been made with a moderate succes. Currently, there is only one club (called MATAMU'a) with youngsters and adults participating on it. The Chilean Rugby Union has appointed a Development Coach and Officer but there are 2 important barriers for a further development :

a.- It is very expensive to travel to and from the island, it is impossible for the local team to participate in a Rugby XV tournament in Chile or in Tahiti.
b.- Many youngsters and young adults study in continental Chile highschool or University, so the potential Rugby population is not that big.

The main Rugby activity is the participation in Seven tournaments in Tahiti and Chile and the oprganisation of a Seven tournament at the end of November of each year. The last one was won by the team Coyotes from Antofagasta, Chile, with participation of 2 local teams, 2 from Tahiti and 3 others from Chile.
It is possible to increase the number of teams in future versions, it is a most enjoyable cultural and sportive experience for a team to be present.
The electronic address of the tournament is http://www.rapanui7s.com.

In order to strengthen the sport in the island it is necessary to offer more contest to the local team , visiting the island with XV and 7 teams and also inviting the team MATAMU'a to participate in matches or tournaments abroad. It seems to be premature the creation of another club.

Rapanui culture has also a ritual dance called HOKO, it was presented before the November match between Chile and MAORI AB in order to salute their polinesic cousins, it is very attractive and accessible through youtube.

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby amz » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 07:49

Very interesting read and glad to see rugby is present in some of the most remote places of the world. I am not sure a 7k population can have a serious impact on Chilean rugby, I think it is an achievement to have a club but I wish them good luck and hope they'll develop the sport more.

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby ficcp » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 18:35

I agree with you in which concerns the impact into chilean Rugby. In my opinion the club should form kids and youngsters so they can can have their own club when they move to the continent, which has already happened with rugbiers formed in the northernmost city of the country currently playing in Santiago.

The tournament could expand some day to a truly international competition.

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby 4N » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 18:45

A population of 7k can have an impact if rugby becomes the number one sport there. Which is possible with so much Polynesian influence, role models etc already in international rugby for the local kids to follow.

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby RugbySwizzie » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 19:17

amz wrote:Very interesting read and glad to see rugby is present in some of the most remote places of the world. I am not sure a 7k population can have a serious impact on Chilean rugby, I think it is an achievement to have a club but I wish them good luck and hope they'll develop the sport more.


I have followed Matamu'u rugby club on facebook for some time and actually one of their players has gone to Santiago and represented the Chilean national XV team last year. I don't remember the name though...

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby 4N » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 19:20

Nicanor Machuca

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby ficcp » Wed, 09 Jan 2019, 20:05

Very well informed 4N.
Nicolas Machuca Haoa (rapa nui by his mother's family) established in continental Chile (Santiago)on 2011 at 19 to study phisical Education at University UDLA, he had started with Rugby in the island and he continued in the 10 a side UDLA team , he joined the first division club OLD REDS. In 2011 he was part of the U 19 squad, being promoted to the U20 in 2012.He has participated in the Condores squad during the last 3 years.

He is an exception because most of the rapanui youngsters establish in the Viña-Vaparaiso or other coastal regions when they continue their studies in the continent. Santiago is huge , with too many people and far away from the sea. In Rapa nui culture the Sea is always an important physical presence, so it is very strange for them to live inland. Nicolás has declared that it has been very hard for him to get used to Santiago. Fortunately he got his place in the Redland school and the club OLD REDS. I hope he will continue his Rugby growth and when he go back to the island he can contribute to strenghten the Rugby there.

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Re: Rugby in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 10 Jan 2019, 14:42

Thanks for sharing this thread with us. It is always great to have some insiders and especially when they have knowledge about the most remote place on earth!
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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