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Latin Americans at International Rugby Academy

Wed, 9 Jun 2004

Latin Americans at International Rugby Academy

Two Latin American rugby coaches are taking part in a high performance coaching course at the International Rugby Academy in Palmerston North until June 18. Their visit is being partially funded under the Government's Latin America Strategy Fund (LASF), which is administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mario Barandiaran is a development officer with the Argentine Rugby Union and Director of Coaching of the Buenos Aires Rugby Club. Gonzalo Balbontin is the head rugby coach at Diego Portales University in Santiago. They are taking part in an intensive two-week course covering all aspects of professional coaching, tactics, preparation, team structure and motivation.

Later in the month (21-28 June) a third Latin American sports personality, Claudio Larrosa, the producer of the Argentine rugby television show "Rugbier" will visit New Zealand to make three background programmes on the Pumas' trip to New Zealand. This is also supported under the LASF.

Building people-to-people links - including in sports - is a primary objective of the Latin America Strategy. New Zealand's embassies in Buenos Aires and Santiago say that rugby is one of the most high profile and successful ways of building New Zealand's profile in Argentina and Chile.

Mario Barandiaran and Gonzalo Balbontin speak English and are available for interview. So too is the Managing Director of the Rugby Academy, Murray Mexted.


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