Since the dawn of Chilean rugby in 1938, the name Campbell has been synonymous with power and skill. Long recognized as pioneers of the game in the country, the brothers Donald and Ian Campbell have now been inducted into the 2012 International Rugby Board (IRB) Hall of Fame.
A special induction ceremony for the greats capped off the South American Championship held in Santiago on April 26. During the event, Ian Campbell and Colin Campbell – standing in for his father, Donald – were presented with a commemorative cap and gold pin by Pablo Mamone, a member of the IRB Hall of Fame Selection Panel.
Biography of two great Chilean players
Chilean by birth yet of Scottish descent, both legends attended St. Peters School in Valparaíso, where both excelled at the game.
Donald, eight years Ian’s senior, went on to play for Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, and later the Chilean national rugby union team. A center, swift and strongly built, in 1938 at the age of 19, he was selected to the first group of elite ruggers to represent Chile in international competition.
Ian would follow closely in his brother’s footsteps on the field, playing senior rugby at 17, and later going on to forge a distinguished 30-year playing career with the Prince of Wales Country Club. Of similar position and build to his brother, he made his international debut at age 20, in Chile’s historic 1948 21-3 victory over Uruguay. In what was certainly an emotional game for Ian, it was Chile’s first post-WWII match and first with the Uruguayans.
Considered not only the grandfather of Chilean rugby, but also revered during his career as one of the most skillful players on the continent, the induction of Ian and the posthumous award for Donald will be applauded by the rugby community.
On their induction, Ian Campbell said: “This is a huge honor for me and I couldn’t be more pleased at the fact that Donald has been included in this induction as well. He was my sporting hero. So much so that as a young boy all I wanted was to be able someday to play rugby, cricket or hockey (at all of which he excelled) with him when I grew up.”
In the ceremony, Mamone underscored the importance of the Campbell family: “the impact that the Campbell brothers had on rugby in Chile was immense and their positive influence is still being felt today.”
“We have seen huge strides made in South American rugby in recent years and I have no doubt that Chile will be at the forefront of that development into the future,” added Mamone.