Legendary Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy has explained why he gave the Tri-Nations series a swerve in order to focus his full attention on London Irish.
Creevy, 35, could have been lining up for cap number 90 against New Zealand next weekend. Instead, the all-action rake has put family and club first as he seeks to batten down a new contract that could see him stay in London well beyond next summer.
Asked if he was finished with Test rugby, the former Jaguares and Worcester man told The Rugby Paper: “No, I still want to play for the Pumas but on this occasion, when the coaches called to say I was in the team, I said sorry and that I just couldn’t go.
“I only arrived here a few months ago with my family and we don’t even have our furniture yet, so I can’t leave my wife and daughter to go to Australia.
“I’ve spent lots of time travelling with the Pumas and Jaguares but now it’s time to think of my family because it’s been a really big change for us. Also, I have only a one-year contract so it’s important for me to try and sign another to secure my future.”
Creevy’s enduring quality and experience gained from playing in three World Cups, captaining his country and spells in Europe and Super Rugby with Biarritz, Clermont, Montpellier, Worcester and the Jaguares will come in handy at London Irish.
The Exiles are determined to make a splash at the new Community Stadium in Brentford and Creevy cannot wait for the kick-off on Saturday week.
He explained: “I’m really sad the Jaguares are gone but Argentina rugby is going to grow again and life continues. The rules changed and our Union said we were free to go to Europe again, so I arrived at London Irish in August and found I loved it.
“The people are good, the coaches are good and London is a lovely city, so for me this is the best option now. I played one year in the Premiership with Worcester and another when we won the Championship and it was a good experience.
“Now, I am really excited for the new season here and I have been in the stadium and it’s really amazing. I’ve played in some of the biggest stadiums in the world but Brentford is one of the best and it’s going to be a great place for our fans to be.
“Unfortunately, people can’t go to begin with but when Covid is finished they will really enjoy it. The field and changing rooms are great, but more importantly the fans will be really close and that’s going to be a great experience for everyone.”
With Buenos Aires now in its ninth month of lockdown, thoughts of home and his beloved Pumas are never far from Creevy’s mind. The future is uncertain but he believes the famed Argentinian spirit will carry rugby there to a brighter future.
“The last game the Jaguares played was in March and it’s been very complicated for the Pumas,” Creevy says. “But Argentina always has energy and heart in our teams and I still think we can perform well and have a very good Tri-Nations.
“We only had one warm-up game and we have to play against the All Blacks this week, and they’re very good so it’s going to be a big challenge to play at that level, but I think that will be good for the Pumas ahead of playing against Australia.
“The Jaguares are finished, but our best players will come to Europe, as they did before, and this is good because the level in England and France is high.
“Super Rugby was faster and you played against the best players from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but now we must adapt again and I hope we can also find a place for our best clubs to play – maybe in MLR, South Africa or South America.”
As for London Irish’s prospects, Creevy adds: “We beat Exeter, in Exeter, and that was really important for us because we started to believe in ourselves.
“We have a lot of international players back from injury now and we are going to have a full team, which is really good for us. With the experience we have and very good young players who give us lots of energy, it’s going to be a good combination.”