By Matthew Brown, Date: 15/7/14
Mexico is another nation which is hoping to start up the “Greatest Game of All”, Rugby League. Mexico is another new nation which has joined the long queue of new nations attempting to bring the 13 Player code to Central America. I got in contact with one of the representatives of Mexico Rugby League (Carlos Munguia) who shared the history, current situation and future ambitions of Mexico Rugby XIII (both domestically and internationally).
With a population of over 100 million people there is HUGE potential for Mexico to become a powerhouse in Rugby League. Although other sports such as Football (soccer), American Football, Baseball, and Basketball and to some degree Rugby Union are dominant in the country, it is hoped that Rugby League could fit into the Mexican sporting landscape as well.
History and current/Future Domestic Plans
Mexico Rugby League became into existence about six months ago. This year (2014), the Mexican Rugby League began training in May and June by running several training sessions for future potential teams and players. Currently there is thought to be around 80 interested players who are interested in trying the new sport and 4 senior teams have been created.
On the 2nd of August, the first official Copa México Rugby League 9s (Rugby League 9s Mexican Cup) will be played in Tultitlán, Greater Mexico City. Details of this tournament can be found in the following link
From August until October, a National League has been pencilled in plus a Shield Trophy in November. It is hope that this will form the basis of the domestic competition in Mexico.
In 2015, there is hopes of running the Copa México Rugby League 9s again and having another national league from February until April, followed by a Shield Trophy in May. In June they are also hoping to have a Champions Cup.
International Links & Latin Heat assistance
Carlos also said that they would also like to be affiliated with the Rugby League International Federation. There are plans to form a Mexican national side and play internationals against fellow international neighbours. So far Jamaica, Belize and teams from the USA have become interested in playing against the Mexicans. With Rugby League being played by Mexico’s closest neighbours such as Canada, USA and Jamaica, it is possible for Mexico to build up a rivalry with their other North American neighbours!
The Latin Heat, although a primarily Australian Based organisation helping to promote Latin American Rugby League have helped promote Rugby League in Mexico. In their recent international against Thailand, Latin Heat’s Perth based fullback Grantito Charcone (of Mexican Ancestry) played in the game. Tito is of Argentinian & French Polynesian decent and his Father and Grandmother both came from Mexico.
When the game was played the game was streamed online live and was shown to over 300 people in Mexico. This was a fantastic effort considering that it was midnight in Mexico and 300 new people were introduced to the game of Rugby League. The Latin Heat have also supported Mexico Rugby League’s efforts on Facebook and sharing their news via social media.
The Latin Heat are also hoping to send 1000 Latin Heat Rugby League balls and game rules in Spanish and Portuguese to key cities and regions across Central & South America. It is anticipated that this project will help the local development of the game in the Mexico!