A THREE-try performance for Chile in the final of the inaugural Chimi Copa de Rugby XIII has seen winger Mayer Flamenco receive a late call-up for Sunday’s international rugby league clash between Latin America and Thailand.
With just 24 hours to kick-off in the GYG Latin Heat v Thailand Stars clash at Windsor, Flamenco ran riot as Chile scored a historic 28-8 win over composite side the Sun Gods.
It was fitting that the two sides should meet in the decider of the first all-Latino competition played under rugby league rules, having staged a tense 12-8 match in the opening game of qualification.
The Chimi Copa in Sydney saw more than 40 players of Latin American heritage converge for a hybrid version of the game, played under full league rules, but with seven-per-side and belt tags instead of tackles.
Defying league stereotypes, runners-up the Sun Gods featured players from Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – including female player Cristina Garcia.
Third placed Uruguay also featured three female players, all of whom more than held their own.
Ultimately though it was a star turn from Chile’s Flamenco and his inside man Sebastian Delapaz (two tries) that saw Chile dominate the final.
After an afternoon where no more than four tries separated any of the teams in pool games, Chile pounced in the decider to lead 20-0 at the break, before the Sun Gods saved face.
For Flamenco it was perfect timing, with GYG Latin Heat head coach Ernie Tobar playing alongside and seeking a replacement for Sunday’s Thailand game after a late knee injury to Kristofer Vieira.
A true melting pot of cultures, Flamenco was born in Chile to Panamanian and El Salvadorian parents, and also has a grandparent from Israel.
Testament to the competitiveness of the Chimi Copa was that a team dubbed the ‘Gringos’ – comprised of Australian and English supporters of Latino rugby league – failed to win a match.
Aside from Flamenco, Latin America has added another two players – Daniel Navarro and William Climpson – to their team to face Thailand at Windsor at 1pm Sunday.
CHIMI COPA FINAL: Chile 28 (Mayer Flamenco 3, Sebastian Delapaz 2, Bruce Rossell, Jonathan Cabello tries) d Sun Gods 8 (Marco Pereira, Sandro Sanchez tries)
WINNING CHILE TEAM: Carlos Astorga Gonzalez, Jonathon Cabello, Sebastian Delapaz, Mayer Flamenco, William Neculman, Carlos Rojas, Bruce Rossell, Ernie Tobar.