Chileans fall to Israelis with honor in rugby

In the end, Israel won 49-16, but the Chileans have nothing to be ashamed of.

DAN SHULMAN 150 (photo credit: David Silverman)
(photo credit: David Silverman)
This week’s Maccabiah rugby match between Israel and Chile that determined which of the two would qualify for the semifinal was accompanied had everything it needed: a supportive crowd, music and a great atmosphere.
In the end, Israel won 49-16, but the Chileans have nothing to be ashamed of. The team in red played a great game and showed a lot of guts throughout the Maccabiah’s rugby tournament, and they will return home proud of their performance in Israel.
At the end of the match, the players were congratulated by 90-year-old Louis Aharon, who made aliya from Chile in 1960.
He thanked the players for their great efforts and the heart they showed in each and every game.
Aharon, who currently resides in Moshav Mazor, was a member of Chile’s national team for 10 years.
“They are the children and grandchildren of my teammates...
I told them to think about staying in Israel.”
Two of the Chilean Rugby team founders are Nicolas Cassorala (33) and Anders Rosenkranz (29).
Explaining how the Maccabiah team was formed, Rosenkranz said: “In 2003, Chile was supposed to host the Latin America Maccabiah Games, so we formed a rugby team but in the end the rugby tournament was cancelled. It’s always been our dream to be here in Israel and the first time we got here we didn’t know what to expect and what level of play would be. But with our new coach, we believed we could play against any team”.
Rosenkranz said it is very important for him to play in Israel.
“When I visit Israel, I feel at home. If I go to Argentina I feel like a tourist, but here it’s different and we feel welcome.”
This is Cassorala’s fourth visit to Israel and he enjoys it every time. “Being a Jew in a Jewish state feels like coming to my second home,” he proudly exclaimed. Cassorala is the oldest member of the team and is very proud of the Chilean team in the Maccabiah.
“I’m really proud of the great effort our team gave, I thank the Maccabiah for this opportunity to participate and I have no doubt I will attend the games in the future,” he said.
Cassorala noted that despite the fact that he’s not considering aliya at the moment, he is very well aware of his role as a Jew in Chile.
“Jews in the diaspora have a very important role of preserving Hebrew and continue the relationship between Israel and the rest of the world.”