Women's rugby will take another step forward in South America in Medellín on Sunday when two rapidly emerging nations, Colombia and Brazil, meet for the first time in a 15s international.
The match is seen as an integral part of Sudamérica Rugby's pathway to Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand, providing much-needed competition for two teams with precious little international experience.
This will be Colombia's first recognised test – and will see them enter the World Rugby Women's Rankings for the first time – although Las Tucanes did once play Venezuela back in 2003, while for Brazil the match ends an 11-year hiatus, the side ranked 48th not having played since their 10-0 defeat to the Netherlands in May 2008.
It will be a ground-breaking match for another reason, too, as a new 4.5-sized ball will be trialled for the first time in 15s..
Colombian rugby is positive right now with the women's sevens team enjoying wins over Argentina and Brazil in the recent Pan American Games in Lima. Now the goal is for 15s to make an equally favourable impression.
“For us, with no previous international competition, as is the case with Brazil, there is no precedent. Therefore, we've worked on our game and our identity,” said Tucanes coach Raúl Vespa Mujica.
“We have prepared our team with the expectation that Brazil will draw from the same playbook as the men's team, of course, adapting it to women's rugby.”
Brazil had a delayed arrival but have travelled to Medellín with a strong team, big forwards and a good physical preparation.
Captain Andressa Contreras was delighted to be in Colombia for this historic encounter.
“We are very happy to be representing women's rugby and we are taking an important step forward in South America, ahead of Rugby World Cup 2021,” she said.
Colombia's side includes Claudia Betancur at prop, the former sevens captain who is Sudamérica Rugby's female representative on the World Rugby Council.
She invited fans to go to what will be a party with the women's game at 12.30 local time sandwiched between two games in the opening round of the Americas Rugby Challenge 2019 featuring the Colombian men's team, Cayman Islands, Mexico and Paraguay.
“It will be a party for the family; they should come and enjoy rugby both on and off the field as there will be three games and a fan fest that will have choices for everybody.”
The game will be streamed live via the Colombian federation's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FecorugbyTucanes.