World Rugby has today announced that the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay will join the World Rugby Council, the international federation’s primary decision-making forum.
Uruguay become the 52nd member of Council, following in the footsteps of Fiji and Samoa who joined earlier in 2019, and will act as an inspiration for other unions aspiring to take a seat on Council.
The appointment was made after Uruguay successfully achieved the required good governance criteria in line with World Rugby’s governance reform launched in November 2015, since when Georgia, Romania and USA, alongside Fiji and Samoa have also been welcomed onto the expanded Council.
The move follows Uruguay’s impressive performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, which saw them record a historic win over Fiji in at the Kamaishi Memorial Recovery Stadium in Pool D.
The South American nation are currently 18th in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings and were runners-up in the Americas Rugby Championship in 2019.
Uruguay has proved itself as a regular and reliable host of elite international rugby events including the World Rugby Nations Cup from 2017-19, winning the title on each of the three occasions, and the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2017.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "We are delighted to welcome Uruguay to Council and look forward to their insights and strong contributions as we continue to focus on driving the growth or our wonderful game across the globe, built on a foundation of strong governance.
"The introduction of Uruguay, following the previous additions of Georgia, Romania, USA, Fiji and Samoa reflects the importance and success of the transformational governance reforms made by this organisation and the unions in November 2015. The pathway is working effectively, and we encourage all unions to take inspiration from Uruguay, review their governance and strive to achieve the required criteria.
"The outstanding victory of Los Teros over Fiji at the Kamaishi Memorial Recovery Stadium was undoubtedly one of the special highlights of Rugby World Cup 2019 and demonstrates that with commitment, great coaching and good governance, the future is full of potential for Uruguayan rugby."
World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot said: "This is an important moment for Unión de Rugby del Uruguay and will act as an inspiration for many other nations, particularly across South America where interest in rugby continues to accelerate with great potential for future expansion.
"Los Teros can be very proud of their performances at Rugby World Cup 2019, their victory over Fiji lit up the pool phase and will live long in the memory of everyone involved. With sustained progress in high performance and development programmes, and a top-class high performance centre at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, the future looks bright for Uruguayan rugby."
Sebastián Pineyrúa, Sudamérica Rugby President said: "It’s a great day for the Uruguay Rugby Union. I want to thank all the World Rugby family and especially the Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont and our great friend and leader in the Americas Agustin Pichot for this opportunity for our nation.
"Lots of generations in different roles, starting with our most capped player and finishing with the newest employee of the Union work hard looking for excellence every day to achieve things like this. I feel proud as President of the region and former Uruguay President to celebrate this new starting point and I would like to encourage and push ourselves to be better every day."
Pablo Ferrari, Unión de Rugby del Uruguay Chairman, said: "We are delighted with World Rugby’s decision to invite Uruguay to join the Council. It will be the first time we are part of it, which makes us very proud as a national union and recognises our hard work on and off the field."
"It reflects our sustained growth in the last few years in our game; and it also closes a great year in which we had a very positive Rugby World Cup 2019, our fourth. We look forward to continue working for the game in our country, region and now the globe."