The International Rugby Board has inducted brothers Ian and Donald Campbell, pioneers and giants of Chilean Rugby, into the IRB Hall of Fame.
Member of the IRB Hall of Fame selection panel Pablo Mamone presented the commemorative cap and gold pin to Ian Campbell and the late Donald’s son, Colin, at a special induction ceremony at the South American Championship in Santiago, Chile on Saturday.
Both brothers played for the Prince of Wales Rugby Club of Santiago and both went on to represent Chile. Donald, who was a fast and powerfully built centre, made his international debut at the age of 19 against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1938, during what was Chile’s first ever tour abroad.
His promising international career was cut short by Second World War as he volunteered to join Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1941. He became a pilot with the Bomber Command and died in action on September 12, 1944, during a bombing raid over Germany.
Ian, who was eight years Donald’s junior, started playing senior rugby at 17 and played for Prince of Wales for nearly 30 years. Also a centre, he made his international debut at 20 in what was Chile’s first post-Second World War international, which was also its first ever clash with Uruguay, in 1948.
He was made captain of Chile at the inaugural South American Championship in 1951 and retired 10 years later, after 14 years of Test rugby. During the 1950s he was acknowledged by both team-mates and opponents alike as perhaps the most skilful player in South America and an outstanding leader of men.
Widely regarded as the father of modern Chilean rugby, Ian appeared in every international match the country played between 1948 and 1961. During that time, he played with distinction against some of the leading teams of the era, including the touring Irish in 1952, the French in 1954 and 1960 and Junior South Africans in 1959.
One of Ian’s grandsons, Santiago Fuenzalida, played for Chile Under 20 in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2008 in Santiago but was tragically killed in a car crash later that year.
On his induction and that of his late brother, Ian Campbell said: “This is a huge honour 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."
“Not only that, but he was also an excellent left-footed place-kicker, which led me, as naturally a right-footer, to spend endless hours at boarding school practising punts, drop-kicks and place-kicks with both feet. So, thanks to my admiration for Donald, I was able to become a fully ambidextrous kicker, a significant advantage for a rugby back,” he said.
Mamone said: “The impact that the Campbell brothers had on Rugby in Chile was immense and their positive influence is still being felt today. One of the stated aims of the IRB is to continue to grow the Game around the world and bring it to new territories. It is through the commitment, passion and vision of people like Donald and Ian Campbell that this will be achieved."
“It gives me great pleasure to present the cap and pin to Ian and also to Donald’s son, Colin. 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 the Argentinean.
Leading Argentinean rugby journalist and historian Hugo MacKern said: “Ian Campbell was without doubt the most influential player in the Chile team, at a time when they were very much the second-strongest team in South America and, indeed, were closing the gap on Argentina.”
Each year, the IRB Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of individuals and organisations who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the Game worldwide. The theme of this year’s induction is “Rugby – a global Game” and celebrates Rugby’s expansion to become a global sport played by millions of men and women worldwide.
About the IRB Hall of Fame: The IRB Hall of Fame honours Rugby greats who have enhanced the Game through their exceptional achievements. Players, entire teams, administrators, coaches, referees, members of the media and Rugby personalities are considered based on their outstanding contributions.
IRB Hall of Fame
The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 with the induction of Rugby School and William Webb Ellis. Since then the following legends have been inducted: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Dr Danie Craven, Sir Wilson Whineray, Gareth Edwards, John Eales, The 1888 Natives Team and Joseph Warbrick, Ned Haig and the Melrose club, Dr Jack Kyle, Philippe Sella, Hugo Porta, William Maclagan, Barry Heatlie, Bennie Osler, Cliff Morgan, Sir Anthony O’Reilly AO, Frik du Preez, Dr. Syd Millar, Willie John McBride, Sir Ian McGeechan, Jean Prat, Lucien Mias, Andre and Guy Boniface, Serge Blanco, Harry Vassall and Alan Rotherham, Cardiff RFC and Frank Hancock, David Gallaher, Barbarian FC and WP Carpmael, Mike Gibson, Dr Roger Vanderfield, Richard Littlejohn, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, John Kendal-Carpenter, David Kirk, Sir Brian Lochore, Nick Farr-Jones, Bob Dwyer, Francois Pienaar, Kitch Christie, Rod Macqueen, Gareth Rees, Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Jonah Lomu, Jake White, Brian Lima, Agustín Pichot, Martin Johnson CBE, John Smit and Gordon Tietjens.