The Pumas No 9 talks Brumbies, beekeeping and being a barista
Downtime with… Jaguares amd Argentina scrum-half Tomas Cubelli
How does it feel to relax after a busy season?
We did a lot of travelling this year. We went to New Zealand a couple of times, Australia, South Africa, Japan. We’ve covered a lot of miles, particularly as the Jaguares made the final (of Super Rugby) so we had one extra trip.
What stood out at the World Cup?
I think the kindness and respect of the people in Japan. Everyone at the hotels and training fields – every place we went, people were awesome to us. The Jaguares’ pre-season started on 25 November.
What do you do to chill out?
Maybe go to the family farm. There’s our honey business, so I may help a bit there. Nothing serious but give a hand if it’s needed and enjoy being out the city.
Wait, you have a honey business?
Yes, and we have some cattle. I don’t do the beekeeping as I have more to do with rugby, but if needed I can be close.
Most of my life I’ve been in Buenos Aires, and a lot of people there have a main job in the city and then do some farming when they have time off. I’d go to the farm for holidays. Maybe it will be a part of my life when I finish.
What are your memories of living in Australia?
It was maybe the strongest experience of my rugby career. It was the first time I left home. In Canberra I met great people and the Brumbies is a great club. We made the finals. There are memories I will have for life.
Who are your funniest team-mates?
We have a couple. Argentinians like to laugh a lot. We have a lot of funny players. For me Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro is a funny guy, Juan Figallo is funny. A couple of young players too – I really like Bautista Delguy’s sense of humour.
What is your nickname?
They call me ‘Cube’, which isn’t that bad. I have a couple more. Tomás Lavanini calls me Dobby, after the elf from Harry Potter. That’s not good for me. I cannot say what I call him back!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I think I’m becoming a good barista. I made coffees in Australia. It’s not a special talent. My team-mates will laugh reading this but I’m trying to get better.
If you could be one of your team-mates, who would you be?
I’d like to be one of the big guys for a bit. Any of them. Or I’d like to feel really, really fast, so one of the young wingers.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Sweets. When I quit my diet it will be candy all the time. I like that.
Do you have any superstitions?
I have routines to feel ready but I’m not superstitious. I listen to music, stretch, relax. On game day I’ll try to have a coffee outside the hotel. During the World Cup that was difficult because there were a lot of people around, especially on game day.
If your house was on fire and everyone was safe, what item would you save?
If everyone’s safe, and my dog is safe, maybe some of the special things, like the presents I’d never get back or photographs that mean a lot.
What kind of dog do you have?
It’s a street dog. I adopted him. He’s called Richard, ha! Well, Ricardo in Spanish. The name is a bit random.
How about your three dream guests for a dinner party?
I’d like to have coffee with Rafael Nadal. He is a sports inspiration. Then I’d have Maradona. He would be funny! And I’d like to have a beer with Piri Weepu. It’s all about sports. I like the way he played.
What do you miss about home when on tour?
My girlfriend and my family. The food. Friends and shared time with my mates at the local rugby club, Belgrano.
Are you still involved there?
Every time I’m in Argentina I’m at the games, I want to stay involved. My brother Francisco plays for the first team. So I watch rugby there and get close to the feel of club rugby. It’s fun.
Best advice that you’ve been given?
Nothing special but I had the fortune of being really helped with kindness from people around me when I had tough times with injury. I learnt a lot from that.
How’d you like to be remembered?
As someone who really gave the most for their team. Someone who tried to make them better and who made special moments and brought good times to the team in terms of success.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.
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