The Lenca are an indigenous people of southwestern Honduras and eastern El Salvador. They once spoke the Lenca language, which is now extinct. In Honduras, the Lenca are the largest indigenous group, with an estimated population of 100,000. The Lenca rugby project was started as a way to teach people in Honduras how to play rugby. The club is owned by the Lenca people from across that region and supported by several foreign volunteers.
We were one of the first ever rugby clubs in Honduras and were the first club in the country to erect basic rugby posts suitable for kicking conversions and penalties. In 2013 we played in the first ever 15s rugby game in Honduras against the Roatan Pirates.
We have had practices in different parts on La Esperanza and also in in the nearby towns of Yamarganguila and Marcala. We have also played some games in the main stadium at the centre of La Esperanza and participated in tournaments in different parts of Honduras.
Our club was started and is supported by people from around the world. One of our main goals is to spread the sport of rugby in Honduras. To do that we provide training for people of all ages who are interested in learning about the sport.
Challenges of Playing Rugby in Honduras
Rugby is a great game, but it has not developed well outside the core rugby countries. Many countries around the world have very small rugby unions without much money or other resources. When we started playing rugby in La Esperanza there was no rugby union in Honduras. Since then weve been working with the other clubs in Honduras to try and get a national union (federation) started. This has been fruitful in that weve been getting some attention from the national Olympic Committee also clubs and unions from across Central America. As yet we havent received any physical assistance from the IRB but look forward to working with them in the future. The IRB website has been very useful for us.
Its impossible to buy rugby balls or Jerseys directly in Honduras, so most people in La Esperanza had never seen a rugby ball before we started playing here. We have been bringing balls into the country from Europe, the US and Canada and are keen to make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to get experience using one. Due to the cost we are unable to give the balls out and due to the import cost the average person here wouldnt’ be able to pay the money to buy one. It would be really good if we could find a company based in Honduras that can manufacture rugby balls.
Honduras has a very successful soccer team. Its good that they are successful, but the popularity of soccer sometimes means that other sports, like rugby, get ignored. As a result many people here dont know how to play sports other than soccer. When you introduce a rugby ball into the mix you quite often get strange looks and people are hesitant to play a sport that they dont really understand. This is something we are working hard to break and why its important to work with people of all ages and backgrounds. If we can make it that rugby isnt alien to them they will get more involved and have more fun playing. Its going to take time.