A breakthrough partnership with apparel supplier Beastwear will confirm the places of several Latin American players at this year’s Emerging Nations Rugby League Championships.
Players travelling from nations as diverse as Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia will be able to make the journey after Beastwear offered a generous sponsorship that will also ensure the history-making Latin American side is one of the best-dressed at the tournament.
Known popularly as the GYG Latin Heat, the conglomeration of 24 nations in South and Central America will become the first team to ever represent Latin America at a global rugby league event.
Latin America is home to more than 600 million people, with a further 100 million people of Central and South American heritage living around the globe.
GYG Latin Heat co-founder Robert Burgin said the partnership with Beastwear was one of the most significant advances in growing the game on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean.
“The financial implications of this partnership are so significant they could be described as life-changing,” Mr Burgin said.
“By freeing up funds, we can guarantee the flights of incoming players from Latin America, and provide them with an experience in rugby league many would have only dreamt about.
“Our goal has always been to improve people’s lives through rugby league and who knows what the trickle-down effect will be from this arrangement.
“We’re equally as happy to partner with Beastwear because of their ability to supply high-quality player and fan merchandise into Latin America, where this can be hard to locate for rugby league.
“It’s an all-round great deal which will see us wearing a striking new design, created by Colombian artist Sebastian Arcos, that further aligns the culture of Latin America with the culture of rugby league.”
The GYG Latin Heat have been drawn in Pool R of the Emerging Nations World Championship in Sydney, running from October 6-13.
Their opponents will include similar composite teams from Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East.
There are currently six Latin American nations with a Rugby League International Federation world ranking – Chile, El Salvador, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay.
Prior to the formation of the GYG Latin Heat in 2013 there was no international rugby league activity happening for these nations.