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Peru v Uruguay: Latino rugby league international coming to Campbelltown

A rugby league international is coming to town but it won’t be at Campbelltown Sports Stadium nor feature a country known for playing the game.

But it’s a game that could be a springboard for spreading rugby league to Peru and Uruguay.

The two greenhorn rugby league nations will clash on Sunday, September 15 at Waminda Oval in what is shaping up as the first ever fair dinkum international match involving two Latin American countries.

Both nations are at the start of their rugby league journey, explains the organiser of the match, Peru director Jaime Perez.

“Our aim is to start a rugby league competition in Peru and eventually be recognised by the Rugby League International Federation,’’ says Mr Perez.

“One of the reasons we’re having this game against Uruguay is to promote awareness of our rugby league involvement, here and in Peru,’’ he said.

“Latino rugby league’’ seriously kicked off in 2016 via a group called Latin Heat, which organised Sevens, Nines and other competitions between South American countries such as Peru, Uruguay Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and El Salvador.

Welcome to the Waminda International: Uruguay rugby league president Ruben Biurra, centre, and from left Jacob Balcon shaking hands with Peru’s Corey Daniela as do Mitchell Perez and Jason Livingstone. Picture: BRETT ATKINS

Mr Perez says that the Waminda international is going up a gear because it will be the first time the teams have full squads of players available.

“We also have internationals lined up against Brazil and Colombia next year, but this one on September 15 against Uruguay is very important for us,’’ he says.

“We are really grateful to East Campbelltown Eagles president Daniel Draper for facilitating this game at their home ground of Waminda Oval.’’

Ruben Biurra, the recently elected president of Uruguay rugby league in Australia, sings from the same song sheet as Mr Perez.

“Yes, this rugby league game between Uruguay and Peru is extremely important – it will put us on the map,’’ he says.

“It’s our first proper international game, so it’s a sort of milestone game for us,’’ says Mr Biurra.

There has always been a lot of sporting rivalry between all of the Latin countries and Peru and Uruguay are no exception.

“I am sure both countries will be trying very hard to win bragging rights from this important game in our development,’’ he said.

Western Suburbs referee Wayne Beh will be officiating at the game, with kick off scheduled at 2pm.

The players check out the turf at Waminda Oval as part of a recent promotional visit for the September 15 international between Peru and Uruguay. Picture: ERIC KONTOS

And while the footy will be the main item at Waminda Oval on Sunday, September 15, Latin American, especially Peruvian and Uruguayan culture will also be on the menu between 2pm and 5pm.

Even if you don’t follow rugby league but would love to get a taste of South America, Waminda Oval will be the place to be on September 15.

Mr Perez says apart from a food truck selling Peruvian food – “the best cuisine in the world’’ – there will be a DJ and Peruvian national dancers performing during the day.

Same for Uruguay, according to Mr Biurra, who says the chorizo sandwiches from their food truck will be irresistible.

If you can’t wait for September 15 to get a taste of South American rugby league, check out the Latino Rugby League 9s, next Saturday, September 7, from 9am to 5pm, at Hillier Oval, Liverpool.

Chile, (reigning champions), Brazil, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay and El Salvador will be on show.