Pu­mas vs All Blacks a taste of home

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM O'CON­NELL

It’s not just born and bred Nel­so­ni­ans get­ting ex­cited about next year’s All Blacks test at Trafal­gar Park.

Ma­tias Cac­ciav­il­lani cre­ates the food of his home­land at his Ar­gen­tinian food cart Viva La Vaca Par­rilla with his Kiwi part­ner Chelsea, fill­ing hun­gry stom­achs at the Pocket Park on Bridge St, Isel Park mar­ket or Motueka’s Sun­day Mar­ket.

Ill­ness pre­vented him from at­tend­ing the 2011 Rugby World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal be­tween the All Blacks and Ar­gentina.

With a test match be­tween the two teams an­nounced in his home­town, Cac­ciav­il­lani was ea­ger not to miss this op­por­tu­nity to see Los Pu­mas in ac­tion.

‘‘It might be a bit hard to get [tick­ets], but hope­fully we get the food cart in,’’ he said.

While chori­pan, steak and chimichurri were sta­ple menu items, Cac­ciav­il­lani hoped that his beloved Pu­mas wouldn’t be smoked on the field on Septem­ber 8 next year.

He ex­pected to be in hot de­mand in the days lead­ing up to the test as part of the fes­tiv­i­ties and said a pre-match food event would be the per­fect cur­tain­raiser to the big game.

As well as the an­tic­i­pated in­flux of Pu­mas sup­port­ers mak­ing the trip over, Cac­ciav­il­lani hoped that the lo­cal com­mu­nity of ex­pa­tri­ates could repli­cate some of the match day at­mos­phere that South Amer­i­can sports fans were fa­mous for.

‘‘In the sta­di­ums back home, there is a lot of danc­ing and jump­ing around – it was like that when the [na­tional hockey team] played here against the Black Sticks - just a few of us went down and went crazy.’’

‘‘It’s just the whole fun of it.’’ While his broth­ers had played some rugby grow­ing up in Ar­gentina, Cac­ciav­il­lani said he had grav­i­tated more to the na­tional sport of foot­ball, which he still played in Nel­son.

He had de­vel­oped a love of rugby while he had been liv­ing in New Zealand, al­though his loy­al­ties firmly re­mained with the home of Maradona, gau­chos and Hugo Porta.

How­ever, Cac­ciav­il­lani’s NZborn son, 15-month old Se­bas­tian may re­quire a more di­plo­mat­i­cally-safe op­tion come 2018.

‘‘Maybe we’ll get him a jer­sey that’s half and half.’’

BRADEN FASTIER/ THE LEADER

Ma­tias Cac­ciav­il­lani and son Se­bas­tian, 15 months will be sup­port­ing the Ar­gen­tinian Rugby team for the 2018 match against the All Blacks at Trafal­gar Park.

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