The Argentina Sevens sensation talks to us about his journey and future ambitions. This feature first appeared in Rugby World in February
“I LEARNT ENGLISH at my school,” says Marcos Moneta, with disarming diction. “I went to a Scottish school, called St Andrew’s, in Buenos Aires. My university is linked to the school as well and is called San Andrés, as is my first rugby club. I’m Scottish, I’m Scottish!”
What’s clear is this 21-year-old is as full of energy off the field as he is on it. And boy has he entertained us recently.
Back on the World Rugby Sevens Series with his gutsy Argentine cohorts, Moneta has established himself as one of the country’s brightest young stars. Before the turn of the year he was also called up to the Pumas squad to rub shoulders with some of Test rugby’s biggest names – and recently he has learnt a fair amount from the likes of Julián Montoya and Pablo Matera, with whom he shares an agent. Yet what you may remember best are his explosive displays at the Olympic Games.
“The Olympics changed my life drastically,” Moneta tells Rugby World. “When the pandemic started, I and the team didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t know if tournaments would be played in 2021. But it changed things drastically, because of the results, of how the team played, and also how I developed. It was life-changing. I was called up for the Rugby Championship and then the Barbarians as well.
“It changed things personally, how you feel, but also after the results I didn’t know we would get the recognition of so many people, that makes you feel good. Okay, not recognition in the street because I’m not so famous, but at rugby matches people will come and say hi to you. It’s really good for someone who has worked so hard to be recognised.”
The game that changed it all in Tokyo was an emotional five-man win over South Africa, when Moneta scored an electric brace of tries. They would win Olympic bronze and later in 2021 he was named the Men’s Sevens Player of the Year. What you may also remember from that iconic match is him dropping to his knees afterwards, overcome.
“I’m a really emotional kid! I remember that second try against South Africa, I thought I was about to cry and it was over – but there was half-time to come and after that it was crazy. I am really transparent on the pitch. I show myself as I am. I just couldn’t control myself. I cried like a little baby after that game!”
He showed us everything in that moment, but there is so much more to come from this flyer.
Meteoric Moneta – a season-ticket holder at the famous River Plate football club – is finishing a business degree and has big ambitions for a run at the Sevens World Cup, being held this year in Cape Town. Then he’d love to see what the XVs game can offer him. He has interest in the French game, while he fell in love with Australia on tour.
Vamos! Or as the Scots would say here, gaun yersel!
This feature first appeared in Rugby World magazine in February.
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