After missing out on a call-up to the Pumas squad, Juan Ignacio Brex has now opted to have a second chance in Italy to finally reach Test rugby. The young powerful center from Buenos Aires moved to Viadana at the beginning of the 2016 to play the Italian Eccellenza, invited by former forward coach Ulises Gamboa (they both are from UAR club San Cirano), and finished almost immediately on Guinness PRO14 clubs’ radar.
Brex featured for the Argentina youth teams, has some experience with the Pumas Sevens squad and a couple of seasons with the Pampas and the Jaguares broader group. He was a highly-rated prospect at Under-20 and Senior ‘A’ level and thus must use the Olympic sevens loophole to become eligible for Italy.
After spending one and a half seasons in the country’s top flight, standing out as one of the top performers in almost every game played, he landed a much-deserved contract with Benetton Treviso in the summer and since then he has appeared in four official matches for the green-and-whites, scoring his first try in the recent Champions Cup fixture against powerhouses Toulon.
With his powerful build (190 centimetres, 100 kilograms) and his ability to run impressive lines with ball in hand, Brex is now one of the few powerful ball-carriers Italy has in midfield and one of the best outside centres with a view to the next two Rugby World Cups. While he’s working on his positioning and broader attacking movements, his defensive qualities are getting better and better and that’s a huge plus for the young Italian group of backs emerging from the highly competitive Guinness PRO14.
He became an Italian citizen 12 months ago, through is Sicily-born father and now, aged 25, he has worked his way through the first four or five centres aspiring to wear the Azzurri shirt (but he will have to wait a bit more to get his chance to reach his first international cap).
Tonight in Llanelli he will be tested by Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams, one of the best-assorted pairings of the entire Championship and that will definitely highlight his qualities and potential. Keep him monitored folks, you’ll hear about him in the not so distant future.
Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie