Rodolfo Ambrosio is excited to take the next step on his long journey in rugby, telling World Rugby that his appointment as Los Teros head coach “makes me very happy”.

The former Italy international arrives at the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay with a huge sporting CV, as a player, coach and High Performance expert.

“Since moving from Argentina to Italy in 1985, I've always worked with rugby. It's my passion, what I love," he says.

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Ambrosio travelled to Europe to play for CUS Roma and first appeared for the Azzurri, who he qualified for thanks to his Italian grandfather, in 1986 against a Scotland XV.

He played in the first Rugby World Cup match, against New Zealand in Auckland in 1987 but injury cost him a place in the squad for the second tournament in England four years later.

Ambrosio continued playing in Italy until 1998 before he returned home to the city of Córdoba and Tala RC, but after a handful of games, an Achilles injury forced him to retire.

He returned to Italy at the beginning of the century to coach Petrarca Rugby in Padova, and later moved to Rugby Segni, close to Rome.

“When the Argentine Rugby Union began its High Performance programme, I applied to be Regional Manager in Córdoba, where I worked in 2009,” Ambrosio recalls.

“The following year, I was National Director.”

Soon he was back doing "what I really like" and coached Los Pumitas in the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2013 and 2014, helping to nurture a generation of players including Julián Montoya, Tomás Lavanini, Guido Petti, Pablo Matera, Facundo Isa and Emiliano Boffelli, who have each appeared at multiple Rugby World Cups.

Then came five big years in Brazil. Os Tupis went from 37th in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini to 24th under his leadership between 2014 and 2019.

His reign included important wins against Canada and USA while they also broke Argentina's domination of the South American Rugby Championship, winning that tournament in 2018.

After his time in Brazil, he returned to high performance with Daniel Hourcade at Sudamérica Rugby, working and touring in pursuit of growth for the region.

Under the stewardship of World Rugby, he was an advisor to Chile’s men on their road to France 2023. This year, he assisted Portugal in the Rugby Europe Men’s Championship.

“I love to continue on the field as coaching is what I like the most,” he says as coach of a Uruguayan team that has played the last three Rugby World Cups.

“I arrive at a country where everyone who has been involved has done a great job. They started their High Performance Plan in 2010 with Pablo (Lemoine) and have worked tirelessly since then.

“They do not stop, they set high goals. With the number of players and inhabitants that Uruguay has, it is incredible what they have achieved.

“In addition to Lemoine, Esteban Meneses did a great job; Rugby Director Guzmán Barreiro is a relentless worker. There are many who push hard every day."

Ambrosio’s first trip to Uruguay was in 1974, when "we took a day to arrive by bus with my club Tala”. Having travelled to Uruguay countless times since, now, he will be inside.

“I will talk to each one of the players. I want to set common goals amongst us," he states.

Clearly, Australia 2027 is on Los Teros’ horizon.

Ambrosio adds: “Uruguayan rugby and players are very emotional; they are passionate. It is an important part of their culture. I like them because they always play with their heart. It is an added value they have."

He hopes to complete his staff in the next fortnight, as a hard July window is on the horizon for the tiny South American country.

“Three very hard games against France A, Scotland and Los Pumas is Uruguay's dream come true," Ambrosio insists.

Several players who played at Rugby World Cups in 2015, 2019 and 2023 will no longer be in the team, while more of the players are now based overseas, an indication of the growth of the team.

“There are some interesting players still in the country playing Súper Rugby Américas, with many experienced players abroad,” he adds.

“It will be something new, but it is what growth brings. You have to adapt. "

Ambrosio does not have his own playing style cast in stone. “You have to adapt to team strengths,” he explains.

“I am not one of those who creates a plan that I like; I rather seek to adapt to the strengths available. My ideology is to adapt to what is better for the team – whether it is with the backs or the forwards.”

While his primary focus will be with Los Teros, Ambrosio will also have a role in the academy and development of future players.

“The Charrúa Center is very good, with good and very capable people. It will be a pleasure to come on board."