A new international venue will be unveiled on Saturday when Colombia hosts Paraguay in the opening round of South American Tri Nations, or 3 Naciones de Sudamérica Rugby, at the Estadio Olímpico Romelio Martínez in Barranquilla.

The Colombian Tucanes, the Paraguayan Yakarés and the Brazilian Tupis will compete in the second-tier regional tournament, showcasing their growth through the Superliga Americana de Rugby.

Colombia have played most of their international rugby in Medellín, the rugby hub in the country, but have since moved to the Estadio Romelio Martínez, a city that has previously hosted international sevens tournaments but never test matches.

Ranked 28th in the World Rugby Men's Rankings Powered by Capgemini, Brazil will be the team to beat, especially on the back of their two recent uncapped games against a Chile XV featuring most of the players that recently qualified for Rugby World Cup 2023.

Os Tupis paid a high price for their lack of discipline and a scrum that could not compete with that of their Chilean counterparts - three yellow cards and a red car in the first game. Yet, they only lost 36-27, which is encouraging for coach Fernando Portugal.

The tournament

The opening game will see Paraguay take on the home side, on Saturday, 20 August at 19:00 local time.

The Paraguayans have embraced high performance rugby since both teams last met in 2018, and they will aim to showcase their growth.

“Playing against Colombia has become a hard game, especially with them having played two friendlies recently,” said Paraguay captain Sebastián Urbieta.

“We are optimistic and have done a solid preparation; we are hoping to play good rugby.”

His coach, Ricardo Le Fort, added: “This tournament comes at the right time; we need competition as it is the way to know where we are with regards to our high performance and development plans.

“Tournaments always imply the search for scores, but in our case it has more to do with where we are in process and long term plans for which we train every day.”

Paraguay will play their second game, against the Brazilians, the following Wednesday.

The challenges ahead

The last time Paraguay played Colombia in Medellín was in 2018 and José Manuel Diosa was one of the stars; since then, he retired and is now the national coach of Los Tucanes.

“We are very happy for the good work we’ve done and delighted to be able to compete internationally. The players have done a huge effort as we got back into national selection processes, as we hadn’t played since August 2019," said Le Fort.

“The goals are to be competitive; we are not focused on winning, that will come if we do things well and it will be even more positive.”

Colombian rugby needs to work out where it is too. In the past two years, a Colombian side has competed in the Superliga Americana de Rugby, yet it was comprised of many players from Argentina. This tournament will allow them to understand where they are currently standing.

“Competition will tell us where we stand. It is a nice tournament in a great city that is aiming to run good quality sporting events and we want to give joy to the people in Barranquilla.”

Colombia will take on Brazil in the final round, to be played on Sunday, 28 August.

The champion of the tournament will be the team with the most tournament points.