Saints new boy Estelles eager to hit the ground running
If any Saints player is going to hit the ground running at the start of the new season, it will probably be Juan Pablo Estelles.
That is because the new back is already more than match fit ahead of his 15-a-side bow for his new club after appearing for Argentina in the Rio Olympics.
He was a staple feature of their sevens side, who reached the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by eventual runners-up Great Britain.
And because of how fit you have to be to play lung-busting sevens, Estelles is perfectly prepared for the rigours of the Aviva Premiership, which begins with a home game against Bath next Saturday.
“It was two months since we started the pre-season for Rio so we’ve been training a lot and it’s been very busy,” Estelles said.
“We did much training, we had a trip to Brazil for 10 days to train hard every day and that helped me to come here at a fit level.
“Rio was a great experience. We played good rugby and had a lot of fun.
“The stadiums were full and it was a great addition to the Olympics.
“It was a great match against Great Britain. We both really wanted to win.
“We had an opportunity but we didn’t take it. We had a penalty, we missed and in extra-time we were determined to win, but they won and we lost a great match.”
Estelles have overcome that disappointment and dons a broad smile as he looks ahead to his trial period at Saints.
The 28-year-old has signed on an intial three-month deal and is hoping he can do enough to make his stay in England more permanent.
“The move happened just a few weeks ago - it was very fast,” said Estelles, who joined from Atlético del Rosario.
“I was going to the Rio for the Olympics and one day before, I decided to come here.
“Everything was very fast and I didn’t doubt that I really wanted to come.
“It was a very easy decision for me. I didn’t think much. I took the opportunity and I’m enjoying it a lot.
“I just really want to play. I’m here to play and learn and to help the team reach its goals.
“I’ll be training really hard to help the team the best I can.”
Estelles looked has looked lively during the pre-season campaign.
And he added: “I’m a guy who really likes playing, who gives everything I have and I will do my best.
“I’m bringing attitude and I can talk about my skills, but I’ll really be trying to push forward.”
Estelles started on the wing against Rotherham last weekend, but he has predominantly been brought in to strengthen Saints’ outside centre position.
And he has already been learning from the likes of Luther Burrell and George Pisi as he looks to make a fast start to life at Saints.
“I’ve watched a lot of them and I’m enjoying it in each practice,” he said.
“Learning from each team-mate is really helping me.”
So how much did Estelles know about Saints and the Premiership before he opted to make the move to Northampton?
“I watched a lot on cable TV. I saw many matches,” he said.
“I tried to follow it as much as I can and now I’m meeting new people and new team-mates, which is the best thing for me.
“I was very attracted to the professionalism of the players.
It’s the highest level and this is one of the best teams in England.
“I’m enjoying it and I’m trying to really take advantage of this experience.
“I’ll do the best I can to help the team.”
One thing that has helped Estelles settle in is the support of the Saints faithful.
And he has really enjoyed the messages he has received on social media.
He said: “A lot of fans tweeted me so they gave me a very nice welcome.