LEICESTER, 28 Sept - Top players usually share similar milestones. Their senior debut, first try, selection for a regional or national side, or a Rugby World Cup. These are all memories most professional players will treasure. But Juan Manuel Leguizamón boasts an achievement very difficult to equal: he has played top-flight rugby with his father and brother.
The improbable father-and-sons back-row came about some 15 years ago, when Juan Manuel (pictured taking a selfie with fans) was starting his senior career at Santiago Lawn Tennis Rugby, and lasted for almost an entire season.
On his debut, a very young “Legui” took the field with his father Juan Carlos, and his brother Gonzalo. “Both on and off the pitch, my father was always in charge,” he remembers. “Besides, he had a ton of experience.”
Juan Carlos, nick-named “Tori,” played rugby well into his 40s, and those who know him say he still keeps in enviable shape. Gonzalo still plays, and his friends like to point out he has got a tackle as fearsome as his brother’s, if not more so.
Santiago del Estero is a province far from Buenos Aires. There is no rugby tradition to speak of there, yet in recent times, the Lawn Tennis Club has become a veritable back-row factory for Argentina’s national sides.
Other than the Leguizamón trio, the club developed Facundo Isa, who at the age of 22 represents the Pumas at the RWC 2015, and Tomás Lezana, a capped 21-year-old who fell short of the list of 31 bound for England, but seems destined for the global stage of rugby.
“Playing alongside my father and my brother, in the senior team at my club, is one of the most beautiful things I’ll ever get to live as a rugby player,” said 'Legui', 32.
There will be no sequel to the Legui trilogy in the near future. “I’ve only got one daughter at the moment, and another girl on the way, so I don’t think it’s on the cards. I’m more likely to end up playing with them on their field hockey team,” he quipped.