Club Universitario de Buenos Aires

Universitario (CUBA)
Full name Club Universitario de Buenos Aires
Union Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires
Nickname(s) CUBA
Founded 11 May 1918 (1918-05-11)
Location Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ground(s) Villa de Mayo, Greater Buenos Aires
Chairman Marcelo Perri [1]
Coach(es) Juan José Villar
Tomás Cóppola
League(s) Torneo de la URBA Grupo I
2016 8° of Top 14 [2]
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, commonly known for its acronym CUBA, is an Argentine sports club with headquarters in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires. Universitario hosts the practise of a large variety of sports and activities, such as basketball, boxing, fencing, football, golf, field hockey, gymnastics, martial arts, paddle tennis, rowing, rugby union, scuba diving, skiing, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball, waterpolo, weightlifiting and windsurfing.[3]

One of the sports the club had gained more recognition is rugby union, which senior team currently plays in the URBA Grupo I, the first division of the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires. "CUBA" has won 14 first division titles to date.


The Club was founded on May 11, 1918, by a group of university students as a mean of fostering camaraderie in a politics-free environment. The main request to become a member was to be a university student. In 1917, after a basketball game played in the Young Christian Association -which ended in a riot act- some of its members were punished. Many of those members would be establish the club one year later.[4] The first president of the institution was Dr. Carlos P.Waldorp.[5]

On 31 October 1918 the club acquired a house on Viamonte street of Buenos Aires, which would be the headquarters of Universitario. From 1933 to 1948 (when Universitario acquired a land in Villa de Mayo district of Greater Buenos Aires), the club hosted its activities at club Obras Sanitarias.[5]

Rugby union

Universitario rugby team of 1924.

It is believed that rugby union began to be practised at the club because the friendship between members of Club Atlético San Isidro and the founders of CUBA. Furthermore, the first CUBA captain was Oscar Mena that had previously played in San Isidro. He arrived to the club not only to play but to serve as a coach of junior divisions.[5]

Universitario registered its rugby team with Unión del Rugby del Río de la Plata (today Argentine Rugby Union in 1919. At the beginning the team only played friendly matches, debuting against Lomas with a victory of 16–3. Universitario would they play San Isidro, Belgrano AC and Lomas again.

Universitario started to take part of official competitions in 1922, playing at the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires second division. The first official game was on May 15, 1921 when "CUBA" defeated Huemac by 11–0 in the Club Metropolitan field sited in Santos Lugares. Universitario won the championship without being defeated, therefore promoting to the top division of Argentine rugby. Only two players of that team had experience in playing rugby, Julio Dellepiane Rawson and Rodolfo de Surra (that had played in San Isidro and Eastbourne College of England, respectively).[5][6]

First championship

The 1931 team that won the URBA championship.

Universitario won its first title in the first division in 1931. The team won 14 of 16 games, with a loss (to current champion San Isidro by 25–0 with 7 tries conceded) and 1 game drew (against Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires). Universitario scored 213 points (43 tries), receiving 77.

The catastrophic defeat to San Isidro (CASI) created great concern inside the club. To change the attitude of the players, Paco Torino, leader of club's sports committee, wrote a letter to each one of them with these words: "If you really don't want that CUBA be defeated like that again, you should better go to the practice and gymnastics class at the club."
Hugo Mackern, Argentine journalist specialized in rugby

Universitario recovered from the thrashing defeat by San Isidro, making a great campaign and winning all the games of the second round, including a victory against San Isidro by 12–6, taking revenge from the first round game.[5]

At international level, Universitario played several matches against teams outside Argentina, such as the Junior Springboks in 1932 and 1959, an Oxford & Cambridge combined team in 1948, 1956 and 1965, the Ireland national side in 1952 and the "Gazelles" from South Africa in 1966. Nevertheless, the most significative achievement for the club was in 1965 when Universitario won the title in all divisions (First to fifth, including reserve teams).

Return to glory

Forty three years had to pass before Universitario won a new title in 2013. In 2006 and 2007 the team reached the semi-finals and was near to be relegated in 2010 and 2011. That same year Universitario had to play a match against Lomas to remain in the top division.[7]

In 2013 Universitario won its 14th championship, defeating Hindú by 11–9 in San Isidro.[8] That same year Universitario became the national champion when winning the Nacional de Clubes after defeating Rosarian team Duendes by 21–20 at a final match played in Villa de Mayo.[9][10][11]

Notable rugby union players

Notable members


Frank Chevallier Boutell, captain of the rugby union team, in 1926.

At present, CUBA has many branches disseminated over Argentina:


Rugby 1920s–30
Rugby 1930-today



Rugby union

1931, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 2013


Universitario has always been a Gentlemen's club. Women are considered adherent members.[26] As adherents, women are excluded from decision-making processes and their access to the main headquarters (on Viamonte street) is restricted: women only have access to the restaurant and the library. The sports practised there are exclusively for men. Nevertheless, the statute of Universitario (written in 1921) does not mention that women are not allowed in the club.[18]

If a member dies, the adherents (his wife or daughter) only can access to the club with a special permission granted by the committee. In case a member get divorce, adherents are banned from the club definitely.[18]

The committee of Club Universitario interprets that the word "member" does not apply to women so they only can be adherent or relatives.[18]

Because of women can not taking active part in the club, then President of Argentina Juan Domingo Perón took over the club in 1953.[18][27]

The club has also been accused of supporting several de facto governments of Argentina.[18][27] In the official history of the club it was stated that "The government of Gral. Pedro Aramburu repaired the abuse committed"[28] In 1968, some members of the committee celebrated the 50th anniversary of the club with members of the military government leadered by dictator Juan Carlos Onganía.[18]


  1. Founder and director of Crítica, a famous newspaper of Argentina.[18]
  2. Chairman of Club Atlético River Plate (1989–97).[18]


  1. "Comisión Directiva 2013–14" on club website
  2. Posiciones finales 2016 on URBA website
  3. Deportes at CUBA, retrieved 12 November 2013
  4. History of CUBA on club's website
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "El Club Universitario de Buenos Aires y el Rugby" by Eduardo García Saenz,, 8 May 2014 (Archive)
  6. "CUBA, campeón después de 43 años", Clarín, 6 May 2014
  7. "CUBA, una historia de reconstrucción" at RugbyFun
  8. "",, 26 Oct 2013
  9. "CUBA es el mejor del país: derrotó a Duendes en la final del Nacional del Clubes",, 3 May 2014
  10. "CUBA luchó, ganó y gritó campeón", 3 May 2014 – UAR website
  11. "CUBA, campeón nacional" at RugbyFun, 3 May 2014
  12. El Gráfico N° 377 (Sep 1926)
  13. Rugby Didáctico 3: Historia y Estadísticas by Sebastián Perazzo. Published by Technibook Ediciones, 2011 – ISBN 978-9871759-774
  14. "La Unión de Rugby del Río de la Plata – Memoria 1932" at UAR website
  15. "La vuelta al rugby de Ignacio Corleto en CUBA",, 26 May 2012
  16. "Entrevista a Ernesto Ure",, 26 Nov 2009
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "CUBA, campeón después de 43 años", Clarín, 26 Oct 2013
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "CUBA, club aristocrático que no acepta las mujeres como socias" by Manuel Alfieri, Tiempo Argentino
  19. "Sede Palermo", club's website
  20. 1 2 "Veinticinco años en la historia del Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, 1968–1993", by Eduardo Martiré, Buenos Aires
  21. "Sede Nuñez", club's website
  22. "Sede Villa de Mayo", club's website
  23. "Sede Cabaña El Arbolito", club website
  24. "Sede Catedral", club's website
  25. "Sede Fátima", club's website
  26. "CUBA campeón, la historia del club más conservador del rugby", La Voz, 26 Oct 2013
  27. 1 2 "El campeón CUBA no acepta mujeres y apoyó la dicatura", Diario Uno
  28. Historia del Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, 1918–1968, text cited from the chapter "Después de la tormenta" ("after the storm" in English language)
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