Argentinian imports Emanuel Dutack and Francisco Ansorena have settled in well at Athletic Marist and are flourishing in this year’s Citizens Shield competition.
Dutack hails from Quilmes, a city in the province of Buenos Aires, and played for Don Bosco Rugby Club in Argentina before arriving in New Zealand in March last year.
The first five-eighth, who scored a try in last Saturday’s loss to Old Boys, turned out for Varsity in Auckland last season before making contact with Athies to experience South Island rugby.
The 27-year-old said he was acclimatising well to his new surroundings and adapting to the more physical style of play.
“I think it’s a bit stronger here, the guys are bigger here than Argentina but I think we’ve got more fitness in Argentina, everyone plays more like backs,” he said.
Despite his belief that Argentinian rugby is faster-paced, Dutack said there was less time for decision-making in New Zealand.
“For first five it is really difficult for me, accommodating the team, the difference in timing, the time that you have here to make a decision is much shorter than in Argentina,” he said.
“I need to improve my timing, I need to be faster in my decisions because I’m late at times, It’s totally different here.
“Another problem is my English – in a match you need to communicate. I think my English has improved, when I arrived here I didn’t speak any.”
Dutack said he was enjoying his time in Oamaru and hoped to extend his stay and don the gold of North Otago when the Heartland Championship kicks off in August.
“My visa expires in October but I want to stay longer. I like this country, I like the club and I like the people I have met here. It’s my dream to play for North Otago.”
Ansorena, who plies his trade on the wing, arrives from Neuquén, a province in the west of Argentina.
He played for Neuquén Rugby Club in his homeland before arriving in Christchurch last year on a working holiday visa.
The 25-year-old echoed his countryman’s impression of New Zealand rugby.
“Here the guys are much bigger but have not too much fitness, the players are less fast but there’s more contact here,” he said.
Ansorena believes his time in the South Island will improve his standard of play and also has aspirations of representative rugby.
“I think I can go up. It’s a good experience here but I think my decisions can improve, you have to make them very fast,” he said.
The South American duo will be in action for Athies’ rescheduled clash against Maheno on Friday.
By James Ford
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Francisco Ansorena and Emanuel Dutack are performing well for Athletic Marist this season.