Chile's preparation knows no limits as they train with Marines

In their preparation for the two remaining World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger tournaments and the World Rugby Sevens Repechage for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Los Cóndores Sevens spent 30 gruelling hours with the Chilean Marines Corps.

Los Cóndores Sevens have been pushed to the limit as they prepare for three big tournaments in the coming months, starting with the next World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 tournament in Montevideo, on 8-10 March.

The Montevideo event will be followed by the third and final Challenger tournament in Munich in May as teams chase the top-four spot that will keep alive their hopes of promotion to HSBC SVNS 2025.

Then, focus will turn to the World Rugby Sevens Repechage tournament for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which takes in Monaco in June.

To ensure they are in the right mental and physical shape for the challenges that lie ahead Los Cóndores Sevens spent 30 hours training with the Chilean Marines Corps over land and sea.

Sixteen players were under the command of the Marines in the city of Talcahuano, to enhance the leadership skills, teamwork and resilience of the group. 

Following the rigorous examination, players and staff visited the Submarine Force to try and get a feel for what it is like working under sea in cramped conditions. 

It followed the example of the men's 15s team who prepared similarly for their first Rugby World Cup campaign in France last year by undertaking what was known as 'the Warrior Challenge'. 

Benjamín Videla, Cristobal Game and Nicolás Garafulic were involved and got to experience it all over again, this time with the national sevens team.

“There was very detailed planning and the aim was for the players to be able to overcome the adversities and know their limits, going a little further, which was very beneficial. The stated goal was reached, 100 per cent,” said course leader and 2nd Lieutenant Esteban Bobadilla Godoy.

“We hope that their camaraderie, teamwork, together with the solid work from the team's staff, is now imbued with the concepts of taking care of their colleagues, of always being together, encouraging each other, and that if someone makes a mistake ensure they do not give up … to always raise your head and maintain the correct attitude until the end.”

A unique experience 

Los Cóndores Sevens coach Joaquín Todeschini added: “I think it was a unique life experience that no one will forget … they gave much more than 100 per cent. There were difficult moments, but that's what this activity is for: not only for the team leaders to show themselves, but also for some of the lower-profile players to emerge. It was a very, very good experience, which goes hand in hand with rugby.”

Chile are well placed to advance to the promotion-deciding tournament in Madrid, where the best four of the Challenger teams will meet the bottom four from SVNS 2024 for the right to play at the highest level, having been runners-up to Kenya in the opening tournament in Dubai.

In addition, Chile will look for the last available Olympic place in June.

“This will undoubtedly help us a lot for what is to come; we will face a lot of demands, a lot of pressure and we will later apply many of these moments in rugby and life situations,” Todeschini said, referring to the Marines Corp training. 

For captain Diego Warnken, it was an enjoyable, if not demanding, experience. 

“It was an unforgettable experience. We were able to transfer to rugby a lot of the knowledge that the Marines passed on to us. I think there are many things that we can use on the field, especially mental strength. We had good experiences despite how demanding it was, but very rewarding at the same time," he said. 

“As captain, I tried to be there in the tough moments, raise the morale and spirit of the group, to always push forward. And already thinking about what is coming to us, mental and physical resilience is going to help us a lot.”