From North Berwick to Bolivia

A rugby player from North Berwick has international ambitions but not with Scotland.

Mark Camburn is part of a campaign to raise funds to start the world’s newest international rugby team in Bolivia and even has ambitions to turn out for the national side.

Mark moved to Bolivia in 2003 and has been playing rugby for Santa Cruz Rugby Club since 2007.

“When I started, there were only 2 teams in the whole country,” says Mark. “But now we have a national league, male, female, junior, and mini rugby which I also coach”.

This year, the Bolivian Rugby Federation has been accepted into South America Rugby (SAR), and has formed its first ever national 15s side having competed at 7s in the South American equivalent of the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Mark has been training with the national side and now hopes to get a chance to represent Bolivia in the South America C tournament later this year. The team also hopes to play some friendly matches against provinces in Argentina and Paraguay.

“Playing rugby in Bolivia is a unique challenge,” says Mark. “It involves playing matches both at high altitude at up to 3,500 meters above sea level, and in hot, tropical climates on the edge of the Amazon basin. My team is based in this region, and we regularly train and play in temperatures of 35 degrees and 90% humidity, which as you can imagine, is a challenge for a Scot”.

The international side has a budget of $60,000 a year to enable them to play games and are looking to raise money through crowdfunding.

“I really want to make sure this new chapter starts off on the right foot,” says Mark. “I want players being picked based solely on ability and not ability to pay. That’s why the campaign is so important to me and I really hope the rugby community in Scotland can get behind us and raise some money.”

The Scottish Rugby Union has donated a signed Scotland jersey and anyone donating £10 or more will be in with a chance of winning it. You can find details of the crowdfunding campaign here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/fund-the-bolivian-national-rugby-team?rcid=r01-15632257655-2a6b5b6f242c4b8e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

You can also see more about rugby in Bolivia in this video:

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Born a Souter but brought up just south of the Border in Berwick where he played for Berwick RFC as a kid any any position where cover was needed.
Follow Cammy on twitter @CammyBlack

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