Brazil Rugby Player Interviews Men’s 15s & Women’s 7s
Another great set of interviews on #TheHeartOfRugby
I conducted these interviews in November, but decided to publish them now during the Brazil 7s Women’s Tournament so that it could get the best visibility.
Great interviews and stories about determination from pro Brazil Women’s 7s players, how flying kites as a child Felipe (Pro 15s Brazil player) got introduced to the best sport on earth, thoughts on the Olympics at Rio 2015 and more.
I begin with the first person I met when I walked in to the Club Atletico Minero in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I found him working out with other athletes in their weight-training gym half the one at my High School. He was very friendly, and a pioneer in the sport of Rugby, now passing on the baton to others, and introduced me to these other wonderful players.
Marcelo Amiky, Angelica Pereira Gevaerd & Maria Gabriela Ávila. And, a bonus interview with Felipe Claro S Silva below these.
RugbyNation.com: Welcome Rugby Nation. We decided to come to the Sao Paulo, Brazil rugby training facilities. We met Amiky. He is younger than I am, but bigger than I am. He speaks English so he is helping me a little here. He introduced me to these ladies who just played in the Russia Sevens tournament. Tell me a little about you.
Marcelo Amiky: I played back for six years. I played for the world series, fifteens, and others for ten years. We are the oldest rugby team in Brazil. We have more than 100 years of history. It was founded by Charles Miller. He introduced both Soccer and Brazil a hundred years a go, and unfortunately Soccer went how we know and rugby was only played by the British Colony. But, we are still playing rugby. We are also the most popular club in Brazil.
RugbyNation.com: Have you noticed a lot more interest in the public now that it has been announced in that rugby will be played in the Olympics in Rio, 2016?
Marcelo Amiky: For sure. Here in Brazil we host the re-entering of the rugby programming, and all the lights of the rugby media in brazil are on us. Sponsors are now fueling the growth as well.
RugbyNation.com: The same thing is happening in the USA. You have to check out this exercise. The same thing is happening in the USA. It’s not that popular. But, now with the growth of Rugby Sevens, and the popularity of the upcoming Olympics, it’s getting better. Would you mind introducing us to these ladies?
Marcelo Amiky: This is Gaby and Angelica. They play for the Brazilian side.
RugbyNation.com: You are very tough. I’ve seen you on film.
Marcelo Amiky: They have been playing the sport for more than ten years. They introduced it (are pioneers) very early. Now they lead the Brazilian side.
RugbyNation.com: So, remind me, who did you play in Russia?
Maria Gabriela Avila: USA, Spain, China, Fiji.
RugbyNation.com: You know, the Russian teams really came through, right? It was some of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen. What really impressed me is that the coach from the Russian women’s team, had taken some of these women off of the streets. These are girls who lived on the streets. And, they beat England. That was huge to them. The coach was crying and it was great. What is your name?
Maria Gabriela Avila: My name is Maria Gabriela Avila. I play scrum half, play maker, center or wing. I’m not that fast, but some times.
RugbyNation.com: And, yours?
Angelica Pereira Gevaerd: My name is My name is Maria Gabriela Avila. I play hooker and prop.
RugbyNation.com: So, why do you love rugby and what got you into it? What is so special about it.
Maria Gabriela Avila: I think it is difficult to explain it. You need to play it to understand how we feel. Sometimes I talk to my mom about it and she doesn’t understand why I love it so much. But, I think we are a family. We respect each other, the referee, and other players. We have a spirit that just comes when you play. It’s not because we like to run a lot and be outside in the cold, it’s something even more that comes from the inside.
RugbyNation.com: I’ve also tried to figure that out too. It’s such a tough sport that I think that to have your sisters and brothers there to have your back, and know they are there there to support you, and you bleed together on the field…there is nothing like it. I played American Football all through High School and it’s not the same. And, you know what’s funny…when you have all the protective pads on, you don’t hit as hard as you do in rugby, because you have the protection and you think you are going to get hurt. It’s the weirdest thing. It doesn’t make sense because once you play rugby after American Football, and hit somebody as hard as you can, then you realize you can hit harder and it is OK.
Angelica Pereira Gevaerd: Rugby has made me a better person. It’s given me discipline. Some times it helps us to want something more when we play for national teams and represent our country.
RugbyNation.com: Does the government subsidize your training or do you still have full-time jobs?
Maria Gabriela Avila: I do have a full-time job. What I just did is sign a contract with the IRB last week. I’ve been playing for the national team since 2004, but this is the first time they recognize my job and things I do for Rugby.
Maria Gabriela Avila: Thank you. It isn’t easy to work eight hours a day and then come to training and play for both the club and national team. Angelica right now, she only plays Rugby. She left the job to dedicate herself full-time to Rugby. This year she signed her contract.
RugbyNation.com: RugbyNation.com is all about the heart of Rugby. Is there someone you know of who exemplifies what the heart of Rugby is all about?
Maria Gabriela Avila: There are so many stories. For example, we always play first pac. We never won a game. After three years we played one of the biggest team and beat them. The game was so close we went to the golden try and Paulina, the smallest player on our team.
RugbyNation.com: Oh yeah, I even took a video of her on my TV screen during the Rugby Sevens Russian tournament. She was so much fun to watch.
Maria Gabriela Avila: Well, she was the one who scored that golden try.
RugbyNation.com: If you dream high your dreams will come true, right?
Angelica Pereira Gevaerd: When I first came to play Rugby, I didn’t have much talent. In 2009 when the team went to the World Cup in Dubai, I had to stay behind. I thought “this is my goal and dram, to play for the national team.” Since I was working and training, I sometimes only slept three hours a night to be able to fit everything in. And, I made it.
RugbyNation.com: Congratulations! You know, the sport of Rugby is very special. I just want it to blow up and become the biggest sport. What’s helping is having Rugby played in the Olympics in 2016, which will be the first time since the 1960’s. Did you know that the last game that was played was between the USA and France? The USA won and the French fans were so upset they were attacking the USA players. The French players had to help the USA players and protect them so they could get off the field safely. It’s a pleasure to meet you two. I hope to see you two at the Vegas Rugby 7s Tournament in January, 2014. Will both of you be playing in Vegas?
Maria Gabriela Avila: Las Vegas is not on the schedule. Brazil will play the World Series games in March in Atlanta.
RugbyNation.com: Well, I was hoping to see you play there. Good luck on your tournament and thank you for the interview.
Interview with Felipe Claro S Silva Pro 15s Brazil Rugby Player.
RugbyNation.com: How did you get into playing the sport of Rugby?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: I used to fly kites when I was a kid. There were a lot of kites that had fallen over the wall and onto the field. One day my friend told me that the club was open, and dared me to go in to collect the kites. The coach caught me with both hands full of kytes and asked “what are you doing here?” I told him I was collecting the kites that had blown over the wall. I was eleven years old. That is how I learned that Rugby was played there and became interested.
RugbyNation.com: Did you make kites out of grocery bags and sticks? Did you also use glass on the lines, Brazilian style?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: Yes. Here when there are school holidays we used to fly a lot of kites. The reason they wold land over the wall into the Rugby training fields was because there were so many kites in the sky that the lines would cross.
RugbyNation.com: Tell me your full name.
Felipe Claro S. Silva: Felipe Claro.
What position do you play?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: Felipe Claro S. Silva: For 15s Scrum Half. For 7s, Back Line.
Did you also play in Russia?
No. I was injured.
I had a growing strain. I’ve been treating it for the last three months.
RugbyNation.com: Do you know what the next tournament is?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: There is a new calendar. We are going to New Zealand in December. The teams haven’t been decided yet. Since we split in 15s and 7s. We are going to New Zealand and will spend a full month there. Then we will go to Dubai in December for the sevens series there. Then in January we have the South American Tournaments in Chile and Uruguay.
RugbyNation.com: RugbyNation.com is about the heart of rugby. What do you think the heart of rugby is?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: The passion. The players. Playing the game. The opportunity to be with friends in a battle side by side. It doesn’t matter who we play against. It’s all about passion. Isn’t it? That is why we love the game.
RugbyNation.com: What is it about Rugby that makes such a great brotherhood? All the players are incredible friends. All the fans are incredible fans.
Felipe Claro S. Silva: On the field it is a battle. On the field I am fighting for something. That brings a community together. You also end up fighting for the team outside the field as well. Preparing the food, the water, training together, caring for the fields, training all the time together. That makes us all kind of a family.
RugbyNation.com: So, what are some of the players that are your inspiration?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: When I was a young child I used to watch a VHS video every day of the game between England and South Africa. My inspiration was a young guy, Jonny Wilkinson. I even used to cut my hair like his. I watch his video every now and then now. I just got addicted to his game. And, I start following him every single time and his games with England. Obviously the World Cup in 2007, in which he pretty much won the game in the final. He was amazing and my greatest inspiration.
RugbyNation.com: Have you ever watched Sid Going? He was considered one of the best players for New Zealand.
Felipe Claro S. Silva: I don’t know him. Old school. I will look him up. I’m very addicted to Super Rugby. Just yesterday I was watching Hurricanes vs. Lions and it was a hard game. It’s very physical. It’s the way we play here.
RugbyNation.com: I think what’s really going to blow up Rugby in the USA is Sevens because it is so fast, but it is hard because you have to have so many teams for a single tournament. But, also, if Super Rugby can somehow catch on in the US, with the six tackle rule, it is a lot easier to understand.
Felipe Claro S. Silva: I agree. Super Rugby is also a very clean game. It’s very quick and easy to learn and understand.
RugbyNation.com: Now, if there are any young eleven year old kids flying kites out there, who may not be lucky enough to have their kites fall onto a rugby field, what can you tell them that will inspire them?
Felipe Claro S. Silva: Train hard, don’t miss trainings, get to the trainings early, and look for payoff. All hard work has a payoff in the end. I am proof of it. I’ve played since I was eleven years old. I never stopped. I played semi-professional in England. I scored a try against England in the World Sevens Series. I played in Hong Kong. I never imagined I would ever do any of those things. I just kept going and going. I trained hard. And, that is what I continue to do every day. If you are young, set a goal or a target, train hard, and you can get anywhere if you have a goal in mind.