Brasil has named 20-year-old Cabramatta talent Dylan Braga Nunes as co-captain ahead of Sunday’s international rugby league match against the Philippines at Kensington Oval, Sydney.
Braga Nunes, whose mother is from Recife and whose father is from Belo Horizonte – both large cities in Brasil – will share the captaincy with former Brazilian rugby union forward Mark Jackson.
“Dylan’s already a leader in this team, despite his age,” said co-captain Jackson, aged 34.
“He will play a big part in taking this team into the future and showing what Brasil Rugby League is capable of.”
Braga Nunes will play alongside brother Steve in the Carcarás squad, which also features former Brasil rugby sevens player and owner of one of the longest names in rugby league – Ravi Santiago Nascimento Mendonça de Araújo.
Despite being born in Australia, Braga Nunes holds a Brazilian passport, speaks fluent Portuguese and has visited his parent’s homeland more than half-a-dozen times.
“I get mistaken for a Pacific Islander all the time, playing rugby league and living in Western Sydney,” revealed Braga Nunes
“When I tell people that I’m Brazilian, most people say I’m the first Brazilian they’ve ever met.
“The potential for rugby league in Brasil is huge. It’s still only new, but it’s only going to grow.
“I want Brasil to establish itself as champions of Latin America and for us to keep improving all the time.”
Indeed, the Brazilians are the reigning 13-a-side champions from Latin America, winning the last tournament in 2018, however previous champion Chile was absent from that event.
It’s anticipated Brasil v Chile will happen early in 2022 as an early qualifier for the 2025 World Cup, and the tough match-up against the Philippines is part of preparing for the challenge.
The Philippines have named former Melbourne Storm and NSW Warratahs player Paul Sheedy as captain, and included former State League players Dennis Gordon, Rez Phillips and Marc Russell in their side.
Gordon is the brother of former Gold Coast Titans player Kevin Gordon, who is also eligible to play.
While 12 Filipino players have gone on to play first grade in the NRL, ARL or NSWRL over recent decades, Brasil is still searching for its first player to crack the NRL.
Brasil – which now has 12 domestic clubs – has had a presence in the English Super League, with Ramon Da Silva, Matt Gardner and Ade Gardner all of Brazilian heritage.
This Sunday’s game will be played under full IRL rules, including limited interchange, 40-minute halves and the latest international rules of play.
Kick-off is at 3pm Kensington Oval, Edward Avenue, Kensington on a day where no other top-flight rugby league is scheduled for Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The day will feature cultural performances, Brazilian and Filipino cuisine, anthems and merchandise stalls.
BRAGA NUNES, Dylan ©
CASANOVA CAMPINA, Juan
DE ARAUJO, Simon
GUEDES SILVA, Vinicius
JACKSON, Mark ©
SHEEDY, Paul ©