Santiago Lawn Tennis, the Argentine rugby talent factory that does not rest

Juan Manuel Leguizamón was the head of the iceberg. He showed that with sacrifice and effort everything can be achieved. Add 85 caps in The Pumas and, with their 36 years recently turned (he was born on June 6, 1982), he still plays in high competition, both in the national team and in Jaguars, the Argentine franchise that disputes the Super Rugby.

Behind him came Facundo Isa and Tomás Lezana, two other santiagueños who precisely in the same eighth position also reached the top, accompanying Legui and even sharing the third line with the national jersey.

In the youth World Cup that is being played these days in our country, Juan Bautista Pedemonte, Nicolás Roger Farías and Federico Parnas, the latter from Old Lions, the other club in the capital of Santiago. So, how do you explain this phenomenon that continues to add young people from Santiago to the different Argentine rugby teams every year?

A bit of its rich history

Founded 104 years ago and with 51 seasons in rugby, Santiago Lawn Tennis is located in the center of the capital of Santiago, which together with the Band is home to about 600,000 inhabitants. With 4,500 members and more than 500 players, the club has rugby among its most prominent disciplines, in addition to recently building a gym, several tennis courts, a heated pool, frontons and a hockey field with synthetic grass. All this to retain the boys in the province, because in recent years several 20-year-olds – from the Pumita Pedemonte division – went to play in Buenos Aires, Spain, France and a New Zealand Academy. “The sangria was tremendous in the last five years,” he commented. Oscar Muhn, who was a player of the club and is now one of the coordinators of the game.

In dialogue with Infobae and after celebrating a new regional championship with his beloved Lawn Tennis – he won the final for the local tournament against Olímpico – Muhn explained the reasons why his province became a great supplier of values.

Is it a coincidence or what secrets does Santiago Lawn Tennis hide to generate such players? “I’ve been at the club for a long time and without a doubt Juan Manuel -for Leguizamón- left a legacy- said Oscar-. The boys saw that they could dream, that the dream was achievable and that with work they could achieve it. Of course, The club also has to do with it. We have a super amateur structure where everything is passion and courage, and they see that every day. The competition with Tucumán helped us –the NOA Regional is played with teams from Tucumán and Salta– and made us stay at the same time. height of circumstances. The team qualified for the Nacional de Clubes in 2014 and beat the San Isidro Club twice. But, when you get big players after repeating them again it becomes difficult, in addition to the fact that many leave the province, because here we do not have many things to retain them, beyond sports. “

“Imagine,” he continued, “in addition to Pedemonte there are two numbers 10, Nicolás and Martín Roger Farías -the latter in Argentina XV- who left the club and went to CASI. Now we fight to generate new talents, because everyone believes that the success is winning, the only important thing is that the superior division wins, and it is not like that, “he added.

The day of the retirement of Juan Carlos Leguizamón, at age 40, with his two children
The day of the retirement of Juan Carlos Leguizamón, at age 40, with his two children

Muhn is 48 years old and was the second row of Santiago Lawn Tennis. He shared the field for three years with Legui and trained Facundo -his nephew- and Tomás: “I took Facu -for Isa- to rugby. His father is my cousin, a great basketball player from Quimsa who still shows vice today in Veterans. At 14 I got him involved with sports and he always told me: my dream is to be like Juan Manuel. “

About Lezana, he highlighted: “Tomy played in the opening row all his life. His father -Diego- and uncle -Gustavo- were number 10 of the club. But at 17 he came to tell me that he wanted to play third-line. He was very skinny. So I told him: ‘Well, it will be a challenge for you, and look where he is now …. We are very close to the players and we have fluid communication with the people of the Pladares (High Performance Centers).
I trained Pedemonte from the age of 15 and then two more seasons in the youth team “.

The reasons for success

“It is no coincidence, I believe that boys dream and dreams come true. We play with many adversities and I think these are the strengths that are seen today in the boys who leave our club. They get up once a day. week at three in the morning to go to the Pladar de Tucumán -they have four hours of travel-, to be measured and evaluated at 8. Álvaro Galindo, former Puma and manager of the Pladar of Tucumán, always tells us that the first to Getting to train at the centers are the people of Santiago. For me that is the secret, that at 17 years old they value everything that it cost them to get there and that makes them stronger, “he adds.

Adrián Alvarado, president of the Rugby Subcommittee, went further and stressed that many players have been promoting for a long time: “I couldn’t say what the secret is. I’m just telling you that we are a committed club, that we train and we are fans of what we make”.

Pedemonte and Milet, Pumitas in 2018
Pedemonte and Milet, Pumitas in 2018

The Leguizamón legacy

The history of Lawn Tennis and the Leguizamón legacy are inextricably linked. “My brother Marcelo played third-line with Juan Manuel and Gonzalo,” Muhn continued. “Juan Carlos, the father, retired at the age of forty, sharing the field with his two sons. He was an example of professionalism, as Legui is now. But The one who changed our minds was Bernardo Urdaneta, the Tucumán coach who led the Pumitas. He convinced us that we had to organize and work with the future in mind. That we had to move forward with a project. “

The pride of representing your province

Tomás Lezana, the third line of Jaguares, highlighted what it means to represent Santiago del Estero: “I am very proud of my province and it gives satisfaction to know that year after year there are players representing us. Luckily I was able to travel that path and know what it costs to get there It is very important for rugby in the province that Santiago Lawn Tennis and Old Lions, as spearheads, work hard to grow more and more. And the contribution of players to those selected in recent years is not by chance. Currently Old Lions is second in the Regional tournament and it is well deserved, it is something to highlight “. And, in reference to playing with Leguizamón and Isa, he highlighted: “Playing with Legui and Facu in Los Pumas is something that I was able to measure over time, it was one of the best things that rugby gave me. In one way or another they make you feel in your club when you are representing the country.

The youngest of all, Juan Bautista Pedemonte, also left his opinion: “That we all play in the same position is something relative. What we all want to follow is their example, both in the game and in their human characteristics. We all try to follow the path that they marked out for us “. Bautista has played rugby since he was four years old and always did so in the eighth position. Asked about his reference, he replied: “The three are my references, despite the fact that each one has different characteristics. In what they are the same is in the example, in their personal capacity. I try to copy them in how they carry the ball forward, the how they tackle and how strong they are on defense. “

Isa and Leguizamón, with the Pumas jacket and the SLT flag
Isa and Leguizamón, with the Pumas jacket and the SLT flag

Santiago Lawn Tennis, the Santiago del Estero talent factory and a registered trademark in Argentine rugby. A club that continues to work hard and proclaims with the example of its heroes.

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Santiago Lawn Tennis, the Argentine rugby talent factory that does not rest

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