Socino: A Little Brotherly Love

How not to start with the big news? It is inevitable that I write about my younger brother Santiago signing a two-year contract with Jaguares, the Argentine franchise in Super Rugby. As a brother, it gives me great pride that he has been asked to join in an incredible tournament, getting closer to the possibility that one day he might play for Los Pumas.

Rugby Fans In North Africa, Middle East, Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and France
Can Watch The Guinness PRO14 Final LIVE on FloRugby May 25

Santi, as we all did in the family, started playing rugby for Los Matreros, in Argentina, but moved to Europe to pursue his professional ambitions.

The latest column from Edinburgh star Juan Pablo Socino

He arrived in England aged 21 to play with Hull in National League Two. He soon moved to Hull Ionians in the same division.

At the end of that season, he made a big decision that would impact on his career. Having played loose forward all his life, he decided to change the number eight jersey to play at hooker.

This was after impressing at a pre-season trial for Newcastle Falcons.

There and then, the club offered him his first professional contract but in order to learn the trade, he was sent to play at Mowden Park in National One (England’s third division) where he played sufficient minutes as a front-rower.

After a great season, the Falcons brought him on board full-time and he made his Premiership debut, standing out in games against Bath, Sale, and Saracens.

After a season of consistency, in which we played together and got to share trips, hotels and some great moments, he signed a two-year deal.

This past season was not the ideal or the one Falcons were expecting. The lack of results meant they dropped out of the Premiership; Santiago didn’t have a good season either as he did not play as much as he would have wanted.

Around February, media reports from Argentina started saying he was in the frame and being looked at by the Pumas staff.

All of this came to fruition on Monday, with the announcement the Santi is joining Jaguares for two seasons.

He is a very mobile player, extremely aggressive in the contact. He is very skilled with his hands and is ready to work hard, humble and willing to help his new team.

Obviously, as neighbors that we were—he lived a couple of hours from Edinburgh—I will miss him a lot, but wish him the best. I know his best rugby is yet to be played and that many will be happily surprised.

With regards to the Guinness PRO14, two different games were the outcome of the semifinals.

Glasgow was too strong at home for Ulster, playing a quick and expansive game, attacking from everything, with a very interesting dynamism.

On the other hand, Leinster, that had lost the final of the European Cup the previous weekend, played a much tighter game against the tough Munster team. But Leinster showed resilience and managed to recover from the loss to Saracens to dominate and win, despite Munster throwing everything at them throughout the eight minutes.

So, we have a great final in hands, with the two best teams in each conference; they play different brands of rugby but are equally ambitious in how they play. Warriors had a great season and Leinster, multi-champion in PRO14, needs to find the inner strength to go all the way.

I hope that the Celtic Park will be a party and that playing at home is not too much of a plus for the Warriors!

 ¿Cómo obviar la gran noticia? Me es inevitable escribir sobre la incorporación de mi hermano Santiago a Jaguares, la franquicia argentina en el Súper Rugby. Como hermano es un gran orgullo ver que lo han convocado para sumarse a un torneo increíble, acercándose también a la posibilidad de algún día poder jugar en Los Pumas.

Santi comenzó su carrera, como toda nuestra familia, en Los Matreros, pero también siguió su destino profesional en Europa.

Llegó a Inglaterra con 21 años para jugar en la National League Two, jugando para Hull. Pronto pasó al Hull Ionians en la misma división.

Al finalizar esa temporada tomó una decisión trascendental en su carrera. Habiendo jugado de tercera línea toda su vida, decidió dejar la camiseta número ocho que usaba para jugar de hooker.

Esto fue luego de impresionar en la pretemporada con Newcastle Falcons, en una prueba que le tomaron.

Allí, el club decide ofrecerle su primer contrato profesional y lo ayuda a aprender su nuevo puesto enviándolo a jugar para el Mowden Park en la National One (tercera division del rugby inglés) para que pueda sumar minutos jugando de primera línea.

Luego de un gran año, los Falcons lo incorporan full time al plantel y es ahí donde debuta en la Premiership, impresionando en partidos contra Bath, Sale y Saracens.

Tras una consistente temporada en la cual pudimos jugar juntos, compartir viajes, hoteles y grandes momentos, firma contrato por dos años más. 

Esta última temporada no fue la ideal ni la esperaba para los Falcons. Los resultados no acompañaron y se descendió a segunda división; en lo personal, Santiago tampoco tuvo mucha suerte, ya que no logró sumar la cantidad de partidos que esperaba.

Por febrero empezó a sonar su nombre en varios medios en Argentina y la posibilidad de que estuviese siendo analizado por el staff de Los Pumas. 

Todo esto, claramente, se materializó con la noticia del lunes. Santi se suma a Jaguares por dos temporadas.

Rugby Fans In North Africa, Middle East, Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and France
Can Watch The Guinness PRO14 Final LIVE on FloRugby May 25

Es un jugador muy móvil y terriblemente agresivo en el contacto. Tiene un muy juego de manos y va a sumar desde donde le toque siempre con humildad y ganas de aportar al equipo.

Obviamente, como vecinos que éramos -  vivía a un par de horas de Edimburgo – lo voy a extrañar horrores, pero le deseo lo mejor. Sé que su mejor momento está por venir y que va a sorprender a más de uno.

Con respecto al Guinness PRO14, se dieron dos resultados completamente distintos en las respectivas semifinales.

Glasgow vapuleó a Ulster de local, jugando un rugby completamente rápido y expansivo, atacándolo desde cualquier lado de la cancha, con una dinámica más que interesante.

Por el otro lado, Leinster, que venía de perder la final de Europa, se enfrentaba al poderoso Munster, en un partido más trabado que el jugado en Escocia, Leinster pudo recuperarse del golpe de una semana antes contra Saracens, para salir victorioso y dominante; fue demasiado para un Munster que intentó los ochenta minutos pero que no fue suficiente. 

Se viene entonces una final con los líderes de ambas conferencias; dos equipos distintos en cuanto a como juegan, pero igual de ambiciosos en su juego. Warriors tuvo una gran temporada y Leinster, multicampeón, mostró su resiliencia el fin de semana pasado.

Esperemos que el Celtic Park sea una fiesta, y que ser local allí ¡no beneficie demasiado a los Warriors!

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Following the dissolution of the old Anglo-Welsh Cup after the 2017-18 season, Premiership teams in England set out to form a new competition, called the Premiership Rugby Cup.