T he Ar gentina wing who has scored f our t ries in his f ir st eight Test s
I was more into soccer, but I started playing rugby at my school, Balmoral, and around U13s I got hooked playing at my dad’s club Pucará. Rather than follow my schoolmates to another club connected to the school, I chose Pucará, which is where my friends were and where I felt most comfortable. My brother, three years older, was already there and my father and uncle played for the first XV, so it was a simple choice.
Already at school I noticed that I had speed and things started to work for me in sports. I got selected for U16 provincial trials and it all took off from there. I grew in confidence when I was a starter in the provincial championship, which we won.
I never really thought of rugby as a professional option. In fact, after school and winning a silver medal at the Youth Olympics, I studied advertising for a year and then moved to communications.
But as the game took up more of my time, I decided to put my studies on standby and hope to take them up again next year when I have settled into life as a professional player. I will do it online, though, as we travel a lot.
The Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, when I was 17, was the first time I played for Argentina. Soon after, I got selected for Argentina Sevens and played two U20 World Championships and for the Argentina XV. I started this year as an invited player with Jaguares and had a good season, so I have already signed a three-year contract with the Argentine rugby union. I want to stay here and develop in my country, close to friends and family, playing Super Rugby. I don’t see moving overseas as a priority.
What I had to do is learn very quickly about international rugby as up until last year I didn’t even know what a Test window was! As a kid, I wasn’t a huge fan of losPumas and would watch the World Cups but not much more. I used to like playing more than watching. Now I will watch Super Rugby and Test rugby, but not Premiership or Top 14 games.
Super Rugby is something I really enjoy – and it has been a huge learning curve in so many ways. I left home for starters. I do go back to visit my folks but they live about one hour from our training base, so I share a flat with
Juan Cruz Mallía from which I can walk to training. I can cook and we’re both very tidy so that is great, but we’ve had to mature in many ways.
There are lessons I picked up that will help me in my second year as a pro. After coming off the bench in the first game against Stormers, I started every game bar two in Super Rugby, which was incredible. With los Pumas, I only missed the second game against the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship through injury, so it has been a busy first season.
Super Rugby fits my game, as I like it fast and open. Stamina and speed were never an issue and whilst before I’d say I liked full-back more, because you make decisions, accommodate people and attack, at wing there is more freedom and you are less tied to a structure; the higher you go in standards, the smaller the spaces are. Again, I’m learning and I hope pro rugby won’t take my instincts away, but we certainly do a lot of analysis, which comes in handy.
The June window was strange; I was happy because I got my first cap, but we lost three in a row and lost our coach.
Now, after what was a good Rugby Championship, we are off to Europe. I went to England, Scotland and Wales on a school tour in 2014, so this is another great opportunity to travel. Fields might be softer and I’ll need to adapt my game, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
The big dream is, of course, the World Cup in Japan, but I’ve been saying that I need to enjoy what is in front of me and not lose focus. I’m only 21 and it’s important I don’t look too far ahead.
Wizard in Oz Scoring in the Pumas’ 23-19win over the Wallabies