Peru and El Salvador to clash in rugby league encounter at Waminda Oval

Peru's Sean Day, Martin Portillo and Jaime Perez with El Salvador's Daniel Godinez, Christian Fernandez, Zac Fernando and Albert Matouk.
Peru's Sean Day, Martin Portillo and Jaime Perez with El Salvador's Daniel Godinez, Christian Fernandez, Zac Fernando and Albert Matouk.

A spot of Latin American culture will be on show in Campbelltown this weekend when Peru and El Salvador go head-to-head in a game of rugby league.

The event follows on from the Peru v Uruguay clash which also took place at Waminda Oval back in 2019.

But it's more than just the main game - there's also an OzTag match between Ecuador and Latin Heat, and folklore dances from both Peru and El Salvador before the main event.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy food from both cultures.

Peru rugby league president Jaime Perez said this marked the third international his team had played.

"We've played against Uruguay and Brazil, and now we've got El Salvador," he said.

"We've reached an agreement with El Salvador to make this a yearly game, so this is the first of many to come in the Campbelltown area. We've even created a shield - called the Sean Day Shield, after one of our players who is a prominent supporter of Latin Rugby League."

Perez said it all started several years ago with a Latin Heat rugby league team, which grew enough to support individual national teams.

He said it was a great way to engage not just the broader community, but also the Peruvian and Salvadorian diasporas in Australia.

"We've got the consulates for both Peru and El Salvador attending, so it's great to have support from government officials," Perez said.

"We're also hoping to have the Campbelltown mayor and MP attend."

El Salvador rugby league president Daniel Godinez said many people didn't know that Sydney and Melbourne were two cities where Salvadorians had migrated the most in the past 20-30 years.

He said many Salvadorian refugees to Australia found a strong connection with rugby league.

"A lot of the foundation players in 2015 were refugees from El Salvador and used rugby league as a way to feel part of the Australian culture and make new friends," Godinez said.

"It has become a natural pastime of ours ever since we landed here.

"Coming from a tough country like El Salvador, a tough sport like rugby league is perfect. You get cheered on for going hard and tackling and attacking the game. It's the sport of sport that engaged us and was a great avenue for people from a wartorn country like El Salvador to express themselves."

Godinez said El Salvador Rugby League had been working hard to establish a competition back in El Salvador itself, and had held several fundraisers to kick-start the efforts.

He said the team would be leaving nothing in the sheds on Saturday.

"Every time El Salvador has a hit-out with whatever nation, we always leave everything on the field," Godinez said.

"This is the youngest team we've ever fielded, we've got some great juniors coming through alongside the few older players.

"It will be really good to see how they're tested against the more experienced Peruvian team.

"We've got a lot of respect for Peru."

Perez thanked Campbelltown Council and the East Campbelltown Eagles, particularly Daniel Draper, for all their assistance in hosting the match this weekend.

Ecuador v Latin Heat kicks off at 5.30pm at Waminda Oval this Saturday, March 6, followed by the main event at 7.30pm.

Entry is $5 adult or $15 family. The night will be livestreamed on BarTV Sports.

This story Peru and El Salvador to clash in rugby league encounter at Campbelltown first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.