I am really looking forward to going to New Zealand to play at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Hamilton as it will be the first time they have an official sevens event. It will also be the second time this season that we have back-to-back events as the Sydney Sevens follows it.
After the experience of playing in Dubai and Cape Town, it is really nice to spend those weeks not only with your team, but also with other national teams.
It becomes a key issue after the first tournament how you recover. You have some days to adjust details and nuance, but it is also about how you recover physically, energetically and also on the mental side, more so if you did not fully fulfill your goals.
In our case, Las Leonas are on the right road. We are not relaxed but are reaching our goals of being between the sixth and ninth place in the general table. We want to be around the middle, far from the relegation fear and adding points in each tournament.
By reaching quarter-finals, we will ensure we stay in the circuit and it will allow our younger players to gain experience. They are the ones that will take the jersey to the next generation, sharing with them our legacy.
I very much look forward to returning to New Zealand as it is a “home” tournament for me. I played two seasons in Hamilton, in 2013-14, playing for the Waikato Rugby Union at this very same stadium. Hopefully, there will be time to catch up with old friends from those days.
Changing the world through rugby
This will be the first overseas trip after Christmas and New Year, which I managed to enjoy with family and friends at home. Although it is comforting to be with loved ones, you continue to work hard and looking after your rest and what you eat.
Keeping a positive mental attitude is important to Spain’s Patricia Garcia. In this episode of Cigna Off the Field, she speaks about Rugby Libre, a project that focuses on educating children through the values of rugby and keeps her passion alive. #CignaSeeStressDifferently pic.twitter.com/PSOIgcmXVG— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 14, 2019
They are happy days, of course, but for a high performance athlete they are not holidays as you are back in competition straight after and you have to be ready. That takes a lot of work.
The festivities give me a special perspective as I like to go the oncology ward at the children’s hospital in Madrid, where you have boys and girls with cancer. I share time with them with rugby. It fills me to take them presents and be with them when I am not competing as they need the company.
World Rugby featured a video about my Rugby Libre project in Cape Town and it made me very happy as it helps to promote what my NGO does. More people are coming to us to help, promote and donate for this project which uses rugby for social change.
Changing the world through rugby, as Nelson Mandela did, I think is the goal. If you can change one person at a time, you can change society.
Always, of course, from a small and humble scale. The world is a big place and it is about tiny steps.
I join the sevens team straight after the game against Scotland in Almería, in the south of Spain. It is a game that will help our preparation ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifying process, in September, which is our goal.
It is a real honour to be able to play for both the 15s and sevens national teams. It allows me to fight to leave the red shirt of Spanish rugby as high as I can.