A HUMAN tragedy has struck at the heart of the Argentina squad, and put Saturday’s final match of this November Test series into perspective. Sofia Catalina Pozzi, the 23-year-old girlfriend of Los Pumas flanker Marcos Kremer, passed away suddenly on Monday morning following a short battle against an aggressive form of leukemia.
Kremer, who returned home soon after the diagnosis was delivered just a few weeks ago (during the days leading up to Argentina’s opening Test of the Autumn against Ireland), posted a message on social media which read: “Rest in peace love of my life, I still do not understand, guide me in everything, I hope to find you soon and thank you for making me so happy! I love you forever”.
Edinburgh’s Argentinean centre Juan Pablo Socino, who spent time on Monday with squad member Juan Pablo Zeiss (an old club-mate), says that the news has devastated the group – but believes it will have a galvanising effect on Saturday.
“Initially the chat was about rugby, but the conversation changed to about how upset the whole group are at the moment for Marcos,” said Socino. “They are going to try to produce their best performance to show their support.
“It is a big blow to the team. They had to change their week – they took a day off on Monday when it should have been later in the week – so that, on the back of the bad results, is going to bring the team together and make them want to show their best.”
Argentina lost that opening match against Ireland 17-28, and then went down to France 13-28 last weekend, meaning that they are fighting to avoid a tour whitewash this coming Saturday.
“I think Argentina should win – they have got a big point to prove, as well,” said Socino. “They have played some really good rugby so far in the Autumn, although results haven’t gone their way.”
Socino had hoped he might get a chance to train with the squad while they are in Europe, in a bid to re-establish his international credentials some three years after the last of his four caps, but it hasn’t worked out for him. Instead he will be on Edinburgh duty away to the Dragons when the capital outfit’s Guinness PRO14 campaign resumes this Sunday.
With the Scarlets hosting Ulster on Friday night, it is inevitable that either the second or third ranked team in Conference B will drop points, meaning that Edinburgh can climb into the play-off placings if they win at Rodney Parade.