RWC 2023 Spotlight – Chile

We take a look at how Los Condores made history with the help of a Rugby World Cup legend from Uruguay.


While Chile’s squads are strangers Rugby World Cuphead coach Pablo Lemoine’s relationship with the tournament is steeped in history.

The Uruguayan represented his home country in two Rugby World Cups, in 1999 and 2003, making seven appearances in the tournaments.

The sober head started in Los Teros’ first-ever Rugby World Cup match against Spain in 1999 before leaving the game’s biggest stage four years later in Australia in a record 111-13 loss to eventual champions England.

Lemoine’s appointment as Los Teros head coach in 2012 came with a stated goal of helping Uruguay qualify for the 2015 RWC after the side had missed the previous two tournaments.

And amidst emotional scenes in the capital, Montevideo, that goal was achieved, with Uruguay edging out Russia after the most dramatic surges of hope.

What Lemoine has achieved with Uruguay has been extraordinary, but his feat in guiding Chile to their maiden Rugby World Cup is perhaps even more impressive.

Lemoine, 47, was Los Condores head coach in August 2018 and under him they have attained their highest position in the history of all time World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgeminideserves respect as one of the rising rugby nations in the world.

Here we take a look at how they used to perform Rugby World Cup Qualifier and the route they took to get the Americas 2 ticket for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

As Americas 2, Chile will compete in Pool D at RWC 2023 alongside England, Argentina, Japan and Samoa.

Rugby World Cup qualifying breakdown:

1987 – Not participated

1991 – Not participated

1995 – Chile lost all three games of the South American championship against Paraguay (25-24), Uruguay (14-6) and Argentina (70-7)

1999 – Chile started their campaign with victories over Trinidad & Tobago (35-6) and Bermuda (65-8). A 54-6 win over Paraguay then followed in the next phase, but a 20-14 loss to Uruguay ended their interest in the competition.

2003 – Chile beat Brazil (46-6) and Paraguay (57-5) and joined Canada, Uruguay and the USA in the final qualifying stage with two spots available. Chile defeated Uruguay (10-6) but failed to win another game

2007 – Chile again beat Paraguay (38-22) and Brazil (57-13) to reach the finals but missed out after losses to Argentina (60-13) and Uruguay (43-15)

2011 – Chile beat Brazil (79-3) but the loss to Uruguay (46-9) ended their hopes of qualifying

2015 – Chile beat Brazil again (38-22) but lost to Uruguay (23-9)

2019 – Chile’s dream was once again ended by Uruguay (27-11) after they defeated Brazil (15-10) and Paraguay (66-7).

The road to RWC 2023

Chile were due to face Colombia in the first phase of the South American qualifier but they won after the game was canceled due to COVID-19 cases in the Los Tucanes squad.

Chile took their place alongside Brazil and Uruguay in a round robin competition and needed a top two finish to stay in contention. They beat Brazil 23-13 but lost to Uruguay 15-10 despite leading at half-time.

Chile met Canada, the losers of the Americas 1 play-offs. Canada won the first leg 22-21 after Robbie Povey’s final penalty, but Chile triumphed 34-15 a week later thanks to 23 points from Santiago Videla, ending Canada’s all-time Rugby World Cup record.

So it was Chile that advanced to the Americas 2 play-offs and a two-legged encounter with the USA.

In front of 8,213 spectators, Chile prepared for the biggest test in their history with a 45-5 defeat by Scotland A.

Two weeks later, Los Condores returned to Estadio Santa Laura Universidad SEK in Santiago to face off against the Eagles and were beaten 22-21.

With just one point between the teams, Los Condores had every reason to believe their dream wasn’t over yet, so it proved they were progressing with a 31-29 win in the second leg in Glendale, Colorado.

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