/ wing Francisco Bosch known in Argentine circles as el Cubano - the Cuban has done just about it all. He made his international debut for Los Pumas vs Chile in 2004 at fullback as a 21 year old and had a successful debut scoring a try. Bosch has also represented Argentina in international matches vs Japan, Samoa and South Africa and was on the bench for Argentina´s famous 25-25 draw vs the Lions in Cardiff. Bosch has also played Rugby Sevens for Argentina but is most known for playing professionally in New Zealand for the Manawatu Turbos in the country´s domestic championships now known as the ITM Cup.
Since returning to Argentina he has been a national champion for Hindu Club in 2010 as they won Argentina´s National Club championship with el Cubano scoring a second half try in the 25-22 victory over Córdoba´s La Tablada. He is also a Buenos Aires (URBA Top 14) champion having helped Hindu to win the 2009 championship. Francisco Bosch accepted an offer to be interviewed to share his views on Argentine rugby and his experiences in New Zealand.
PT: How is life at Hindu and how is rugby in Buenos Aires for you?
FB: Well life in Buenos Aires is great for me, after being in New Zealand for a few years it is good to be back with family and friends. Of course it is entirely different being 100% dedicated to rugby, like I was in New Zealand, than playing rugby here where people have to work, study and train in the limited time left. Then again it is not the same playing for the club that raised you playing with friends from a young age. The feeling you have when you represent your club, with the long tradition we have, is stronger than playing for any other team. Even though when I played for the Turbos in New Zealand it felt pretty similar because I felt that I really identified with the union. Unfortunately the dream is over now. Who knows maybe I´ll get the chance to go again.
PT: You previously played professional rugby in New Zealand for Manawatu. What was it like for an Argentine to play there?
FB: Playing rugby in New Zealand in the NPC (ITM Cup) was for me an opportunity to test my rugby at the highest level you can get. What´s bigger than that? Just Super Rugby in my opinion. I know Europe is great and has really strong leagues but the way the kiwis play rugby nobody can match that. So for me it was a great experience, I learned a lot and made a lot of true friends.
PT:. You were popular with the locals during home matches. Could you comment on your favorite memory from playing in New Zealand?
FB: I arrived to play for the Turbos when they got promoted to the top division after a lot of time playing in second division. People didn´t expect much from us and we had a 3 years period to prove to New Zealand that we were good enough to compete at that level and we deserved that spot. After the 3 years I played for Manawatu we were confirmed as a worthy team in first division. I think thats the best memory I have, I mean being part of that process and of course I scored a few nice tries and I really enjoyed that. People treated me great and players and coaches were awesome with me. I went for a visit last year to attend to the wedding of one of my teammates Hayden Triggs.
PT: Manawatu (Palmerston North City) is the host venue for Argentina vs Georgia at Rugby World Cup 2011, what can Los Pumas expect from the locals?
FB: They can expect a lot of enthusiasm, I think the people will be really happy about host a RWC match. I know they are organizing a South American parade and festival for that weekend in the square so it will be lots of fun everywhere.
PT: Could you comment on Los Pumas going into Rugby World Cup year - any players to watch out for?
FB: I think they are struggling a bit to find the team and the structure to compete at the highest level. They have a lot of injuries at the moment but if they can count on their best players I´m pretty confident they can have a good World Cup. Of course it will not be easy to match what they did in France (Rugby World Cup 2007) but they have great players and there´s still the Argentinean passion and as the world knows you never know what the Pumas can do. Good defence, a strong forwards game and a big heart are always on the menu. If they can add some good structure with the backs it will be a great team.
Good players to watch out for: of course Felipe Contepomi, Juan Martin Hernández and Patricio Albacete and a few younger players could do well too like Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga and Horacio Agulla.
PT: Do you think Argentina should host Rugby World Cup 2003?
FB: I´d love to but to be honest I don´t see Argentina ready at this stage to host an event that big with the standards it requires.
PT: If the UAR were to bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 what does Argentina need to do to get ready and meet the standards?
FB: The first thing we should do is develop a professional structure as a Union, we need lots of money that we dont have right now. Something you shoud have in your mind is that Rugby is not that popular in Argentina so theres a lot to do, I dont know as there are a lot of things to do.
Despite not being convinced of Argentina´s hosting capabilities, Francisco Bosch, nonetheless is behind the idea. His criticism is highly constructive as clearly the UAR will need to have some form of professional rugby in the country before it can bid to host a Rugby World Cup. Nonetheless, Australia hosted in 2003 without any domestic professional rugby at all. Argentina could go down the same road by entering in Super Rugby which is a likely move given that Argentina will be in an expanded Tri Nations as of next year.
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