Santiago Vilaseca (URU): 'The whole country is excited'

Santiago Vilaseca (URU): 'The whole country is excited'

LYON - Santiago Vilaseca, former Uruguay captain and brother of the current captain, Andres Vilaseca, reveals what it is like inside and outside the camp as Los Teros prepare for the most eagerly anticipated rugby match in their history - a first ever clash with the All Blacks.

Santiago Vilaseca, former captain of Uruguay and brother of current captain Andres Vilaseca

On his brother's approach to arguably the biggest game in Uruguay's rugby history: 

"He is very mature. He has a lot of experience in the game. He has been an international player for almost 10 years. He is able to be focused, not nervous. Since he's been captain, I think he is trying to enjoy every minute of the games obviously, but (also) in the hotel, practice. He has a very good head (on his shoulders). 

"I don't give him any advice at all, just to enjoy it and have fun because this is once in a lifetime. When you blink your eyes, it is already gone."

On how he felt watching New Zealand beat Italy so convincingly:

"A little bit worried. We know they are the All Blacks. We know what they are capable of on the pitch. They are the best team in the world. Their ranking doesn't say that but we know they are the best team in the world. We know the many things they can do. So, obviously we are worried.

"But we are all waiting for this match. It is the first game in history (between the All Blacks and Uruguay). It's new for Uruguay. So we - when I say we, I mean the whole country but especially the players and staff - are excited. It is going to be something to enjoy. We don't know when it's going to happen again. You don't have too much competition against tier one nations, you depend mostly on the draw at the World Cup. 

"I think it's going to be very enjoyable for the players. Of course, we want the best result possible." 

On his and Andres' mother being the biggest but most nervous Uruguay fan of all: 

"She is very nervous (about) this game. The night before the games she doesn't eat, she doesn't sleep, she is in a panic attack, you know, the whole 24 hours before the game because of the nerves of having a son on the pitch. But (she) is very, very happy for us." 

On the slow-growing popularity of rugby in Uruguay: 

"The sport has been growing a lot during these eight years, since the 2015 World Cup. Slowly, there started to be more people in the stadium every time Uruguay played. More kids are playing. The sport is expanding a lot. 

"Now with a World Cup the enthusiasm grows much more, on TV, newspapers, radio. Everything is much bigger."

On not being too jealous of his brother Andres: 

"No, not at all. Me, as a brother, I enjoy everything that is happening for him. For him to be captain of the first team that is playing New Zealand is only pride for me. I am enjoying very much my position here on the side. Now I am old, I am enjoying this position very much.

"We were talking across the whole World Cup, especially these days before the game. He is very excited."

On whether Uruguay can pull off one of the greatest shocks of all-time and beat the All Blacks: 

"I must say yes. It is going to be very difficult to win but this is sport, 15 against 15." 

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