47 pages 1 hour read

Piers Paul Read


Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1974

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Parts 1-3

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1 Summary

Uruguay is a country in South America which borders the far larger countries of Brazil and Argentina. The three countries have a combative history. Uruguay was an economic success for the first part of the 20th century but struggled in the decades after the 1950s. Only families with land enjoyed continued prosperity. Civil unrest broke out in the country.

Meanwhile, a group of Catholic parents requested that Irish priests teach their children to ensure the students are educated in a way they saw fit. The Irish priests discovered a country very similar to their homeland. The priests introduced the sport of rugby to the Uruguayan schoolboys. In a country with an extreme passion for soccer, rugby was an incredibly niche sport which the priests were certain could teach the boys "to suffer in silence and work as a team" (10). The graduates of the religious school maintained their love of the sport and formed an alumni team named the Old Christians’ Club in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. As the rugby club grew throughout the 1960s, other teams sprang up around them. The clubs formed a league and played against teams in Argentina and Chile. The players chartered a plane to fly to Chile for one game in 1971.