Brazil's Yaras have grown to become the top South American women's rugby team over the past 20 years, winning every regional championship they’ve competed in. While their nickname was coined in 2013, the year after Os Tupis became the new name of the Brazilian men’s team, both teams wore the same branding – until now. Under the leadership of former and current players, a new brand has been developed for the women’s team.

The name Yara comes from the local Tupí-Guaraní mythology. The daughter of Pajé, she was a fearsome warrior who to avoid being killed hid in the rivers. This meant she was known as the “Lady of the Waters”.

The nickname Yaras signifies the courage and collective strength of women’s rugby in Brazil, and connects the side with the country’s roots.

All of this was taken into consideration at the time of the rebranding: “The essence of being a Yara is being conscious of the fact that we need each other to go through our challenges and dream of more success,” said experienced player Izzy Cerullo (main photo), who is heading to her second Olympic Games.

“This is very important for this group of women that has forged its own identity in a sport that is considered, essentially, a men’s sport.”

Her former team-mate Juliana “Juka” Esteves, an international between 2010 and the Rio 2016 Games, added: “This connection with our internal and external nature we learn from our original tribes is a strong message for those who play rugby and know that they need to believe in every move, in every opportunity.”

The new logo was created by Liam Piacente, also a rugby player. The artist underwent two months of investigation with current and former players to create the expression that best fits the Yaras, and ensures there is no opposition between the nation's men and women.

Chula Vista

The Yaras will wear their new uniforms in Chula Vista, USA Sevens' home, in a preparation tournament with the local team ahead of the Olympic Games. This will give both qualified teams an opportunity to see where they are ahead of Tokyo.

“This trip is a very important opportunity for our squad. Our last tournament was at the start of April (in Dubai). We didn’t have many opportunities to play because of the pandemic. USA will be a very difficult opponent; they are the challenge we need right now,” said head coach Will Broderick.

Team captain Raquel Kochhann acknowledged that the warm-up tournament will come as a great opportunity to identify any adjustments that need to be made.

“Unfortunately, the South American Sevens couldn’t be played. This trip gives us the opportunity we needed to check our evolution against the opposition.

“USA is a big, strong team. They will help us know where we are at the moment, and what we need to work on to be better prepared for the Olympic Games,” she said.

The mini-tournament will be played with two USA teams from 31 May to 2 June.

Photo credit: FotoJump

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