Club Universitario de Buenos Aires

Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, commonly known for its acronym CUBA, is an Argentine sports club located in Buenos Aires. Universitario hosts a large variety of sports and activities, including aikido, mountaineering, basketball, boxing, scuba diving, fencing, skiing, football, gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, golf, field hockey, judo, swimming, yachting, paddle tennis, basque pelota, rugby union, squash, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, windsurf and yoga.[2]

Universitario (CUBA)
Full nameClub Universitario de Buenos Aires
Founded11 May 1918; 106 years ago (1918-05-11)
LocationBuenos Aires, Argentina
Ground(s)Villa de Mayo, Greater Buenos Aires
ChairmanMarcelo Perri [1]
Coach(es)Juan José Villar
Tomás Cóppola
League(s)Top 12
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

The club is known for its rugby teams, the senior team of which currently plays in URBA Top 12, the first division of the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires league system. CUBA has won 14 first division titles to date.



The Club was founded on 11 May 1918, by a group of university students as a means of fostering camaraderie in a politics-free environment. The founders had been members of the Young Men's Christian Association who, in 1917, were sanctioned by the Association's board of directors for participating in a basketball game that ended in a fight.[3] Membership was initially restricted to university students. The first president of the institution was Dr. Carlos P.Waldorp.[4]

On 31 October 1918, the club acquired a house on Viamonte street of Buenos Aires, which became the headquarters of Universitario. From 1933 to 1948 the club hosted its activities at the club Obras Sanitarias.[4] In 1948, Universitario acquired land in the Villa de Mayo district of Greater Buenos Aires, which it uses to host some outdoor activities.


Universitario rugby team of 1924.

It is believed that rugby was first played at the club because of the friendship between members of Club Atlético San Isidro and the founders of Universitario. The first rugby captain was Oscar Mena, who had previously played in San Isidro. Mena served as a coach of junior divisions in addition to playing on the senior team.[4]

Universitario first registered its rugby team with Unión del Rugby del Río de la Plata (today Argentine Rugby Union) in 1919. Initially the team only played friendly matches, debuting against Lomas with a victory of 16–3. Universitario also played games against San Isidro and Belgrano AC.

Universitario began to play in official competitions in 1922, starting in the second division of the Unión de Rugby de Buenos Aires. The first official game was on 15 May 1921, with Universitario defeating Huemac by 11–0. Universitario won every game in its opening season, leading to a championship win as well. This promoted Universitario to the top division of Argentine rugby. Only two players of that initial team had experience playing rugby, Julio Dellepiane Rawson and Rodolfo de Surra, who had played in San Isidro and Eastbourne College of England respectively.[4][5]

First championship

The 1931 team that won the URBA championship.

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

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 their defeat by San Isidro, winning all games in the second round, including a victory against San Isidro by 12–6.[4]

At the international level, Universitario played several matches against teams outside Argentina. These teams included 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. in 1965, Universitario won the title in all divisions (first to fifth, including reserve teams).

Return to glory


Universitario would not win another title until 2013, 43 years after its last title. In 2006 and 2007 the team reached the semi-finals, but in 2010 and 2011 the team was nearly demoted to a lower division. In 2011, to remain in the top division, Universitario had to play a match against Lomas.[6]

In 2013 Universitario won its 14th championship, defeating Hindú by 11–9 in San Isidro.[7] 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.[8][9][10]

Notable rugby union players



Notable members



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

At present, the club has several branches across Argentina:

  • Headquarters, known among members as "Viamonte" due to its address, 1560 Viamonte Street, located in the neighborhood known as "Tribunales".
  • Palermo, in the park section of that quarter, on Avenida Figueroa Alcorta. The land had been occupied by the Argentine Air Force until October 1963, when the Government of Buenos Aires donated it to the club.[20][21]
  • Núñez, located in the homonymous neighbourhood, which opened in 1959.[22]
  • Villa de Mayo, in Malvinas Argentinas Partido, approximately 30 km NW of the city of Buenos Aires. Universitario settled there after the club had to leave its facilities in Palermo, Buenos Aires, which belonged to the Club Obras Sanitarias.[23]
  • Cabaña El Arbolito (Little Tree Cabin), located near Nahuel Huapi Lake, 80 km outside of Bariloche. The land was donated by the government of Argentina in 1931.[21][24]
  • Catedral, placed in the major tourism centre of Bariloche.[25]
  • Fátima, sited in the homonymous city of the Pilar Partido. This branch was built due to the increasing number of members needing another place to play golf. Facilities (located in a gated community) were finished in 1991.[26]


Rugby 1920s–30
Rugby 1930-today



Universitario is a Gentlemen's club, with women being considered adherent members.[27] As adherents, women are excluded from decision-making processes, and their access to the main headquarters is restricted to only the restaurant and the library. The sports and activities are exclusively available to men. The statute of Universitario (written in 1921) does not mention that women are not allowed in the club,[18] however the club leadership interprets that the word "member" does not apply to women, limiting them to the adherent role.[18]

If a member dies, their adherents (wives and daughters) can only can access to the club with special permission from the governing committee. If a member gets a divorce, their adherent (ex-wife) is banned from the club.[18]

The club has been accused of supporting several de facto governments of Argentina.[18][28] In 1953, then President of Argentina Juan Domingo Perón took over the club.[18][28] In the official history of the club it was stated that "The government of Gral. Pedro Aramburu repaired the abuse committed".[29] In 1968, some members of the committee celebrated the 50th anniversary of the club with members of the military government led by dictator Juan Carlos Onganía.[18]

In 2023, the visiting Terenue rugby team accused Universitario of "punching and gouging" during a match.[1] Terenure were on a three-match tour in Argentina, but their opening game was called off after 25 minutes, with the Terenure leading 7-0.




  • Copa E.W. O'Farell (1): 1927
  • Torneo Nacional (3): 1934, 1940, 1944

Rugby union



  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. ^ Sports at CUBA, retrieved 15 April 2017
  3. ^ History of CUBA on club's website
  4. ^ a b c d e "El Club Universitario de Buenos Aires y el Rugby" by Eduardo García Saenz,, 8 May 2014 (Archive)
  5. ^ "CUBA, campeón después de 43 años", Clarín, 6 May 2014
  6. ^ "CUBA, una historia de reconstrucción" at RugbyFun Archived 2014-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "",, 26 Oct 2013
  8. ^ "CUBA es el mejor del país: derrotó a Duendes en la final del Nacional del Clubes",, 3 May 2014
  9. ^ "CUBA luchó, ganó y gritó campeón" Archived 2014-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, 3 May 2014 – UAR website
  10. ^ ""CUBA, campeón nacional" at RugbyFun, 3 May 2014". Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  11. ^ El Gráfico N° 377 (Sep 1926)
  12. ^ Rugby Didáctico 3: Historia y Estadísticas by Sebastián Perazzo. Published by Technibook Ediciones, 2011 – ISBN 978-9871759-774
  13. ^ "La Unión de Rugby del Río de la Plata – Memoria 1932" Archived 2012-11-01 at the Wayback Machine at UAR website
  14. ^ "La vuelta al rugby de Ignacio Corleto en CUBA",, 26 May 2012
  15. ^ "Entrevista a Ernesto Ure",, 26 Nov 2009
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "CUBA, campeón después de 43 años", Clarín, 26 Oct 2013
  17. ^ Cain, Nick & Growden, Greg. "Chapter 21: Ten Peculiar Facts about Rugby" in Rugby Union for Dummies (2nd Edition), John Wiley and Sons; ISBN 978-0-470-03537-5, p. 293
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "CUBA, club aristocrático que no acepta las mujeres como socias" by Manuel Alfieri Archived 2014-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, Tiempo Argentino
  19. ^ es:Lino Palacio
  20. ^ "Sede Palermo", club's website
  21. ^ a b "Veinticinco años en la historia del Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, 1968–1993", by Eduardo Martiré, Buenos Aires
  22. ^ "Sede Nuñez", club's website
  23. ^ "Sede Villa de Mayo", club's website
  24. ^ "Sede Cabaña El Arbolito", club website
  25. ^ "Sede Catedral", club's website
  26. ^ "Sede Fátima", club's website
  27. ^ "CUBA campeón, la historia del club más conservador del rugby", La Voz, 26 Oct 2013
  28. ^ a b "El campeón CUBA no acepta mujeres y apoyó la dicatura", Diario Uno
  29. ^ Historia del Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, 1918–1968, text cited from the chapter "Después de la tormenta" ("after the storm" in English language)