Volume 6, Number 1

March 2008

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The Development of Rugby in the River Plate Region: Irish Influences

By Hugh FitzGerald Ryan



[1] Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 -1852), was a British Army soldier and statesman, and is considered one of the leading military and political figures of the first half of the nineteenth century.

[2] The Irish Football Union (IFU) was formed in Dublin in 1874 and in 1875 the Northern Football Union (NFU) was founded in Belfast. The two bodies agreed to merge in 1879 to form the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

[3] The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) was founded in 1731 to promote and develop agriculture, arts, science and industry. The society’s main premises and main arena in Ballsbridge, a suburb of Dublin, hosts an annual international showjumping week entitled ‘Dublin Horse Show, culminating in the Aga Khan Showjumping final. 

[4] Pitch and Toss is a simple coin game, known by this name in Britain since at least the eighteenth century.

[5] The War of the Triple Alliance, also known as the Paraguayan War, was fought from 1864 to 1870; it was fought between Paraguay and the allied countries of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

[6] An idiom which is used especially in England and Wales meaning something is unfair.

[7] Initially the British used North America as a penal colony, the most famous being the Province of Georgia. Convicts were transported by private sector merchants and auctioned off to plantation owners upon arrival in the colonies. After the American independence in 1779 this avenue was closed off. Australia was to later take its place with penal colonies such as Norfolk Island, Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales.

[8] When someone commended him as a famous Irishman, he replied ‘Being born in a stable does not make one a horse.’

[9] Daniel O’Connell (1775 -1847) was Ireland’s predominant political leader in the first half of the nineteenth century. He campaigned for Catholic Emancipation - the right for Catholics to sit in the British parliament in Westminster, which was achieved in 1829 through the Roman Catholic Relief Act. In the 1830s Daniel O’Connell became a major figure in the House of Commons and was active in the campaigns for prison and law reform, free trade, the abolition of slavery and Jewish emancipation.

[10] An idiom which means that lawyer can always find for their clients some loophole in the law.

[11] José Pedro Algorta, Alfredo 'Pancho' Delgado, Daniel Fernández, Roberto 'Bobby' François, Roy Harley, José Luis 'Coche' Inciarte, Álvaro Mangino, Javier Methol, Carlos 'Carlitos' Páez, Ramon 'Moncho' Sabella, Adolfo 'Fito' Strauch, Eduardo Strauch, Antonio 'Tintin' Vizíntin and Gustavo Zerbino

[12] ‘Tero’ is the Spanish for Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis). It is the national bird of Uruguay.


- Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) website (http://www.uar.com.ar) - accessed 8 February 2008

- Becco, Horacio and Carlos Cálcena, El Gaucho: Documentación - Iconografia (Buenos Aires: Editorial Plus Ultra, 1978)

- Catholic Encyclopaedia 1912 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912)

- Cullen, W.B and A.L. O’ Toole, Steadfast in Giving: Edmund Ignatius Rice (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1979)

- Encyclopaedia Britannica (London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2006)

- International Rugby Board (IRB) website (http://www.irb.com) - accessed 8 February 2008

- Montevideo Cricket Club website ( http://www.montevideocricketclub.com) - accessed 8 February 2008

- Moorehead, Alan, Darwin and the Beagle (London: Harper & Row, 1969)

- Nahum, Benjamín, Breve Historia del Uruguay Independiente (Montevideo: Banda Oriental, 1999)

- National Geographic: Adventure (Washington DC: National Geographic, April 2006)

- Parrado, Nando, Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home (New York: Crown, 2006)

- Reid, Piers Paul, Alive (New York: Book-of-the-Month Club, 2000)

- Richards, Huw A Game for Hooligans: The History of Rugby Union (Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2007)

- Uruguayan Rugby Union (URU) website - ( http://www.uru.org.uy) accessed 8 February 2008

- Vierci, Pablo, Ad Astra; 50 Años del Stella Maris (Montevideo: 2005)


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Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2008

Online published: 12 March 2008
Edited: 07 May 2009

FitzGerald Ryan, Hugh, 'The Development of Rugby in the River Plate Region: Irish Influences' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" 6:1 (March 2008), pp. 29-37. Available online (www.irlandeses.org/imsla0803.htm), accessed .


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