The Montevideo Cricket Club (MVCC) was founded on 18th July
1861. Rugby was introduced to many South American countries through
cricket clubs - such as the MVCC - that were set up by British
immigrants. The MVCC members seem to have begun playing rugby
between themselves in the mid-1860s, and they sometimes found new
opposition players amongst visitors aboard British merchant and
navy ships when they docked in the region.
The earliest recorded match between a Uruguayan team and British
MVCC members took place in 1880. One spectator described the sight
as: "... sublime and ridiculous... on all sides [were] people
strangely dressed who ran and shouted, pushed, fell, rose and
finished by joining to form now a circle, now a pyramid, now a
compact mass in which one could only distinguish heads without
shoulders, legs without bodies and hands without arms."
Over time the popularity of the sport grew and in 1950 a
Uruguayan championship was introduced - the Campeonato Uruguayo de
Rugby. The success of the inaugural club championship led to the
founding of a Uruguayan governing body for rugby union in 1951 -
the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay - referenced by the U.R.U.
abbreviation seen on the pennant flag. Uruguay played their first
international match against Chile in 1948, a win for Chile, 21-3.
However, Uruguay defeated Chile at their next encounter and thus
finished as runners up in the first South American Rugby
Championship which was played alongside the first Pan American
Games. Today, the Uruguayan national team is ranked 17th by World
The national rugby team is known as Los Teros, a name for the
southern lapwing, the national bird. The southern lapwing is a
crested wading bird found across South America and it is
particularly common in the Río de la Plata basin, which encompasses
much of Uruguay. It appears on the team's jerseys and also on the
pennant flag. The light blue fabric of the flag is consistent with
the team's blue and white kit colours, which reference the stripes
on the national flag.