BAUTISTA DEL­GUY

T he Ar gen­tina wing who has scored f our t ries in his f ir st eight Test s

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

GROW­ING UP

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.