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SCIAF rugby star launches appeal for Bolivian team

A SCIAF staff member is appealing to Catholic Universe readers and rugby fans to help raise funds for Bolivia’s national rugby team after he recently played in the side’s first game.

Mark Camburn, 36, was a part of rugby history in the last weekend of July when he played in the Bolivian national rugby team’s first game.

The national side, named Los Colorados, had their first run out in Yacuiba, Bolivia, playing four games against two development teams from the Province of Salta in Argentina.

“It was very special for me, pulling on the red shirt of Los Colorados, the new Bolivian national team, for the very first time,” Mr Camburn told The Catholic Universe.

“Like any rugby-playing kid, I always dreamed of playing international rugby, but at the age of 36, I never imagined I would get the chance!

“To be able to represent my second home, Bolivia, a country that has given me so much, was very special. To play alongside many of my teammates from Santa Cruz Rugby Club was equally special. It was an experience I will never forget, but hopefully it will be the first of many!”

Mr Camburn has been playing rugby since the age of five, originally for North Berwick in Scotland. Since 2007 he has been playing for Santa Cruz Rugby Club in Bolivia.

For the last four years Santa Cruz has played in a national league in Bolivia, and they are the reigning national champions, having won for the last three years.

However, Mr Camburn, who also coaches mini rugby in Bolivia, working with girls and boys aged five to 13 years old, is now on a mission to strengthen the sport throughout his adopted homeland and, in his effort to do so, has organised a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the Bolivian national team.

Among those supporting the campaign is the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU), who kindly donated a signed Scotland jersey to the cause.

“So now, for each £10 donated, you get the chance to win the jersey! We will hold the draw for the winner in October,” Mr Camburn said.

Alistair Dutton, director of SCIAF – the official aid and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland, is backing the campaign and has urged all rugby fans to do the same.

“As a rugby fan and player for many years, I’m delighted Mark is helping spread the game in Latin America,” Mr Dutton told The Catholic Universe.

“It’s wonderful that a SCIAF member of staff is playing for the Bolivian national team and I encourage other rugby fans to get behind them and support their fundraising.”

Los Colorados’ next matches will be in Paraguay in September, with their next training camps scheduled this month.

To find out more about Mr Camburn’s fundraiser or to donate, see: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ fund-the-bolivian-national-rugby-team

Picture: SCIAF’s Mark Camburn (fourth left) with fellow members of the Bolivian rugby team.