In his first interview since arriving at the club, Argentina international Julián Montoya sits down to discuss his move to the East Midlands, linking up with his new Tigers team-mates and excitement at representing Leicester, as well as how we nearly became a Cub almost a decade ago and much, much more…
JULIAN, WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER JOINING THE CLUB?
I am really, really excited about this new adventure, it’s something new for me.
I love the Premiership, it’s one of the best competitions in the world, and I am really excited to be at a club with the history of Leicester Tigers.
And, playing in Europe is a really exciting challenge for me.
YOUR PROFESSIONAL RUGBY JOURNEY ALMOST BEGAN IN LEICESTER A DECADE AGO, DID IT NOT?
Yes, I nearly joined the Tigers Academy several years ago, after my school team toured England and we played against the Leicester Tigers academy, and I was in touch with the club after that in 2011.
In my last year of school, we did a tour of England and Ireland, and we played the Tigers Academy, our first game on the trip, and they killed us!
But, it was a great experience for us and a really, really tough game and something we all still remember from our days at school.
WHAT AREAS OF THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE GAME ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT EXPERIENCING?
I think I have improved a lot in the set-piece recently and at Leicester I can continue to keep learning and trying to be better every day.
I believe this is the best place for me.
WHAT DID YOU KNOW OF TIGERS AHEAD OF MOVING TO LEICESTER?
I think I have always admired Leicester a lot, as a lot of Argentina players have played there, and having friends there is even better.
Some of my closest friends are here at Tigers, so to be able to play with them again is great, and our wives, girlfriends are good friends too, which is great for us all.
They are great people and great players and I have missed them, speaking to them every day about Tigers, so I am excited to be here with them in Leicester.
WHAT WAS APPEALING ABOUT LINKING UP WITH LEICESTER TIGERS AT THIS TIME?
I think the history of Leicester is one of the best in the Premiership and world rugby.
There is a new staff, new players and a lot of experience across the squad, on a path to be a successful team again.
I am looking forward to being a part of it and giving my best for the team and the club.
WITH ARGENTINIANS AMONG MORE THAN TEN NATIONALITIES IN THE SQUAD, DOES THAT EXCITE YOU ABOUT THIS NEW CHAPTER IN YOUR CAREER?
Rugby is a sport with great values, including players and cultures from all over the world, and I am looking forward to learning from players and about their cultures here at Leicester Tigers.
YOU WERE RECENTLY PART OF AN HISTORICAL TOURNAMENT FOR ARGENTINA, INCLUDING A FIRST-EVER WIN OVER THE ALL BLACKS … WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
It was a great tournament.
It started tough, we couldn’t play for almost nine months and quarantined in Argentina, Uruguay and Australia.
We wanted to be together, put pride into the jersey of Argentina and train hard for one another.
We were a really close team, only thought about the team and the successful teams are the ones who have the priorities of the team first.
The win over New Zealand was a great game … our focus was defence and set-piece was really, really good.
What we practised, we put out on the pitch and we all called upon those times training alone, in quarantine and the emotion of it got us home.
I am so honoured to be a part of the Pumas team and honoured to represent Argentina and wear the jersey.
WHAT CAN THE #TIGERSFAMILY EXPECT FROM YOU ON AND OFF THE PITCH?
I believe I am a person of the team, my priorities are the team, and once I am on the training field or playing, I give myself completely to the team.
I will give everything and fans can be sure I will give everything to the club on and off the pitch
I love playing rugby, I love training hard, I love working hard … they are my values.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS, TO SHARE WITH SUPPORTERS?
I am excited to be a part of this club, with this history, and wear the famous Leicester Tigers jersey.