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Bruna Elías: Playing rugby for Spain a “dream come true”
We caught up with the young Las Leonas back to talk about her introduction to international rugby, learning from Patricia García and Spain’s Rugby Europe Women’s Championship campaign.
Bruna Elías says she is “living a dream” as she prepares to win her second test cap for Spain against Russia in the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship on Saturday.
Having lined up at outside centre on debut against the Netherlands in Amsterdam last weekend, Elías has moved to the right wing for the match against Russia in Madrid.
Victory for the hosts would secure a sixth successive Rugby Europe Women’s Championship title and continue a stunning start to 2022 for the young utility back.
Elías made her first appearances on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series during the events in Malaga and Seville last month and looks to have a bright future ahead of her.
“I’m living a dream right now,” the 20-year-old told World Rugby.
“I mean, they're counting on me with the sevens team, with the 15s team, and I couldn't be happier.
🎥 | A look back at highlights from today's Women's Rugby Europe Championship match between @RugbyNLD and @ferugby in Amsterdam. pic.twitter.com/QkUmXpHPd4— Rugby Europe (@rugby_europe) February 19, 2022
“I've been working so hard for this and now I'm living it and it's like a dream come true.”
Elías’ introduction to test rugby, during the 69-0 defeat of the Netherlands, was made less daunting as she played alongside Las Leonas legend Patricia García.
Exeter Chiefs star García will make her final appearance for Spain on Saturday having announced her retirement from international sevens and 15s on Thursday.
The match against Russia will mark the end of a 12-year Spain career in which she represented Las Leonas at two Rugby World Cups, as many Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
And it seems García was a steadying influence on Elías as she took the first steps on a journey she hopes might end up being just as successful.
“She knows a lot,” Elías said of García. “She's very smart and it's always great to play alongside someone who knows so much, and they help you around all the time.
“Any question I had during the game or any doubt, I just asked her and then it would be nice. She would have a good answer.”
Taste of success
Spain head into their second and final match of the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship 2022 knowing that a win will wrap up another title.
Las Leonas have never lost against Russia in four previous meetings and won the most recent of those 56-7 in Guadalajara 12 months ago.
Should they win again then Spain will remain in 10th in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.
Victory for Russia would drop Las Leonas out of the top 10 for the first time, but the winning margin would need to be more than 15 points to lift the visitors above South Africa to a new high of 13th.
Having missed out on Rugby World Cup 2021 qualification, Elías believes continuing Spain’s winning run in the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship, which dates back to 2016, is integral for the development of the current squad.
“I think it’s really important because it's the only competition we have this year as we didn't qualify [for Rugby World Cup 2021],” she said.
“It's a good way to end the year because if we don't win this, it's suddenly we didn't qualify, we didn't win. It would be like going downhill.
“But if we win that, we're going to end the season with a good taste, and I think it's really important for us to bring the cup home.”
Elías says she has her brothers Arnau and Pau to thank for becoming “hooked” on rugby, having first picked up an oval ball when she was 14.
Fast forward six years and she is already a dual international and is 80 minutes away from becoming a Rugby Europe Women’s Championship winner.
Spain’s RWC 2021 dream might be over, but Elías’ first year as an international could yet end with an appearance at RWC Sevens 2022 in Cape Town.
Whatever happens over the next few days, weeks and months, though, Elías is just happy to be living her dream.
“I want to play as long as I can,” she said. “For now, I’d do this forever but it’s a tough game.”