What’s in a name? Weichafes or Caciques?

What’s in a name? Weichafes or Caciques?

THEY’RE only two years old, but Chile’s national rugby league team is already opting for change of image ahead of Saturday’s game against Poland at Liverpool, western Sydney.

Known initially by their nickname ‘Los Caciques’ (The Chiefs), the Chileans have become the ‘Weichafes’ (Warriors) in a move that has great significance.

Why does it mean so much?

Basically when Chilean Rugby League was first formed, it consisted wholly of Australian-based Chilenos, who decided on the Caciques name.

However, due to the team’s success and the hard work of volunteers back in Chile, the nation now has its own domestic competition, with the Weichafes representing the best of that competition.

When Chile sent a domestic squad to play Argentina in Miramar in November 2016, they did so under the banner of the Weichafes.

The decision by Australian-based players to drop the Cacique mascot is in reverence and solidarity with the sport’s pioneers back home.

“It makes sense to have the same mascot, no matter where in the world Chile is competing,” Chilean vice-captain Jonathan Espinoza said.

“All our Australian players appreciate the people in Chile are the custodians of the sport for their nation and a lot of thought and effort went into the Weichafe name and design.

“The first step for us is adopting the same logo and nickname on both sides of the Pacific, and by the end of the year in Australia we intend on swapping our predominantly red uniform for the same predominantly white uniform worn by Chilean domestic players.

“This will make it easier for supporters, government officials and sponsors to recognise we are all part of an exciting new movement for the sport in Chile.”

Espinoza, who spent several weeks in the offseason conducting development work throughout Chile, has been named to start at second row for the Weichafes in Saturday’s clash against the Polish.


CHILE (Positional)

  1. James Horvat
  2. Jose Nitor-Alvear
  3. Joshua Munoz
  4. Ben Fisher
  5. Jon Munoz
  6. Brad Millar
  7. Trent Millar
  8. Eduardo Wegener
  9. Israel Perez-Bueno
  10. Josh Betros
  11. Patrick Caamano
  12. Jonathan Espinoza
  13. Peter Betros
  14. Mana Castillo-Sioni
  15. Alvaro Avaria
  16. John ‘Eugene’ Araya
  17. Jaxson Uzabeaga
  18. William Climpson
  19. Sergio Montenegro
    (One to be omitted)
    Coach: Grant Mitchell / Assistant: Trev Smith
    Manager: Carlos Astorga Gonzalez


POLAND (Positional)

  1. Matt Haskie
  2. Jayden Zelezniak
  3. Ben Field
  4. Dwayne Mosley
  5. Sean Kowalski
  6. Alex Kowalski
  7. Cheyne Pike
  8. Zac Pitt
  9. Jaydon Sienkiewicz
  10. Stephen Kolodziej
  11. Mitchell Sahw
  12. Ben Scerbanik
  13. Todd Mosley
  14. Ethan Niszczot
  15. Jordan Owen
  16. Mark Chmurycz
  17. James Usher
  18. Jackson Field
    Coach: Ellis Hurworth
    Manager: Shane Young