Monday, May 19, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Q&A with Juan Pablo Socino

Photo: The Yorkshire Post
One player in with a strong chance of debuting for Argentina in 2014 is Juan Pablo Socino. The goalkicking centre or fly half is returning to Argentina to join up with the training squad preparing for tests against Ireland and Scotland and the IRB Tbilisi Cup. Socino was the leading scorer in the 2013-2014 RFU Championship and now has a two year contract to play for Newcastle in the Aviva Premiership. It would appear that Socino's selection for international duty is just a matter of time. To understand his background and potential future Argentina 2023 caught up with the twenty-five year old.


Congratulations on your impressive season with Rotherham and your move to Newcastle. Is this the opportunity you have been waiting for?

Ever since I left Argentina my dream has always been to play at the highest level possible. After four years this is an incredible opportunity, I couldn't be happier. 

You have extensive experience in Europe at both fly half and inside-centre, but which position do you prefer?

I like both positions very much, obviously I feel slightly more comfortable at centre, because it is where I have played the majority of times. But I would like to have played at fly half, to be able to learn more about the position. 


What does this mean in regards to a possible Newcastle 12-13 combination with Gonzalo Tiesi?

Gonzalo is a player that I have always greatly admired. To be able to play beside him, whether it be at 10 or 12, for me is a great joy.   


In early 2012 there was a lot of talk about an offer to play for Treviso. Was it to play for Italy?

It is true that the offer to go to Treviso existed. At the time I had still not played for Los Jaguares and, as such, it could have been a possibility, but I don´t know. 

Instead you focused on Los Pumas. What does Argentina and Los Pumas mean to you?

Argentina is my country, it is where I was born and where  all my loved ones are. To get the opportunity to some day play for Los Pumas would fulfill a dream, it would mean a lot to me. 

Which Pumas, past and present, do you consider as heros?

From previous Los Pumas teams I always admired Mario Ledesma and from the current team Chipi  (Juan) Figallo. I believe he is a great person and an excellent player.

Lastly, should Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023?

I don´t know if it should, but I think it would be a great opportunity to further develop rugby in the country. 

Thank you Juan Pablo and good luck at Newcastle and with Daniel Hourcade. 

Juan Pablo Socino has been playing professional rugby in Europe for four years. In addition to playing a combined three seasons in the RFU Championship for Rotherham and Nottingham he also played the 2012-2013 season for Dax in the Pro d2 in France. Socino remains uncapped at senior level but played for Los Jaguares and for Argentina at under 20 and under 19 level. He can be followed on twitter @MamutSocino

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