The schedule of the inaugural Americas Rugby Challenge has been announced with four participating nations to compete in the newly created round-robin tournament from August 26 to September 1 at the Estadio Cincuentenario in Medellín, Colombia. Host Colombia will play with Paraguay, Guyana and Mexico.

This is a cross regional event that encompasses, both, North and South America.  The ARCH is following in the footsteps of the successful Americas Rugby Championship which will have its fourth season of competition this coming February/March. The competition was created by Rugby Americas for development teams in the Rugby Americas North and Sudamérica Rugby regions.

At at time when rugby is in constant global growth and the four participating nations are enjoying success on and of the field, rugby in the Americas accounts for 91 of the 338 million who are interested or very interested in rugby in a recent survey commissioned by World Rugby.

Agustín Pichot, President, Rugby Americas, said: “It is crucial that countries have an aspirational component at the top of their competitive pathways toward international rugby as this also assists in growing the game at the grassroots level for each union.  

“First and foremost, I’m excited for the players that get to enjoy in this competition and develop their skills as a result. I’m equally excited about the youth that will watch their country compete and become fans and/or aspire to wear the same jersey in the future.”

Dan Payne, CEO, Rugby Americas, added: “Across the Americas right now, the game is inspiring all who come in touch with it and the vision is centered around growth of the game through supporting competitions and emphasizing the amazing values that make up our great game.”

“In times of growth, tournaments such as these are great opportunities to further develop and promote rugby and our values.”

The Federación Colombiana de Rugby will host the tournament in the country’s hotbed of Medellín, which promises to be abuzz with the Challenge and other rugby activities around it.

Fecorugby President Andrés Gómez is looking forward to expanding quality competitions in the region. He said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Americas Rugby Challenge in Medellín, with the full support of World Rugby, Índer – Alcaldía de Medellín and Indeportes Antioquia. These institutions will ensure we can fulfill the high expectations placed on this new tournament which serves as a platform to develop the game in the country, the regions and the continent.”

The introduction of the second-tier Challenge tournament follows on the back of three editions of the Americas Rugby Championship featuring the top six nations across North and South America.

Paraguay and México will open the tournament on Sunday August 26, whilst host Colombia will tackle Guyana to close the first round of the tournament. Trans-regional matches will also be played in the second round with Guyana meeting Paraguay and Colombia playing against México on Wednesday 29. The final round, on Sunday September 1, will see Mexico clash with Guyana, and Colombia versus Paraguay as the closing match. The winner will be the team accruing the most tournament points.

This Americas Rugby Challenge will provide the Colombian Tucanes, the Guyana Green Machine, Mexico’s Serpientes and the Paraguayan Yacarés with international competition to aid their development as well as promoting the growth of rugby across the continent.

World Rugby Rankings points will be on offer and the proximity of the four teams in the rankings ensures games will be both relevant and interesting.  Paraguay (ranked 38) and Colombia (43) joined Sudamérica Rugby’s elite in the new 6 Naciones Sudamericano. Guyana (47) and Mexico (53), representing Rugby Americas North, will be able to advance in the rankings on the back of good performances.

“We are very much looking forward to competing in this new Americas Rugby Challenge, competing against new and stronger teams which is very motivating,” said Mexican coach Rubén Duque. “We are going through a renovation period in our team, which means we will travel with a new squad which adds to the Challenge the tournament already is.”

The Americas Rugby Challenge has also unveiled its new logo. The chosen palette for this strong logo represents each one of the nations involved in the tournament. The metallic treatment and heavy typeface represent strength and staying power.

Confirmed Schedule for #ARChallenge2018:

Sunday, August 26: Paraguay vs. Mexico
Sunday, August 26: Colombia vs. Guyana
Wednesday, August 29: Guyana vs. Paraguay
Wednesday, August 29: Colombia vs. Mexico
Saturday, September 1: Mexico vs. Guyana
Saturday, September 1: Colombia vs. Paraguay