Juan Pablo Socino thought his days as Puma were gone, but if he keeps playing a major role for Edinburgh he can plot a way back into his national side.
The direct Argentine centre played four times for his country before they changed the rules disallowing overseas-based players, but the new regime of Mario Ledesma – who is bringing his Pumas to BT Murrayfield in November – has loosened that policy.
Now Socino is getting regular game time for Edinburgh, and likely a place in their Heineken Champion’s Cup return against Montpellier in France this weekend, he hopes to capture some attention back home.
“Obviously when you play for your country, you want to play again,” he said. “But the last time I played after the World Cup they changed the rules and they weren’t going to pick overseas players anymore, so I knew at the time that wasn’t going to be an option because I was happy where I was in the UK.
“Now they’ve opened it up a little bit more, obviously I’m hoping that my performances at the club and playing European rugby can help me get back into the team.”
“At the moment it’s just front rowers they’ve brought back, but hopefully there will be chances to all of us playing abroad.
“With Argentina coming to Scotland to play in November I would like to be on the top of my game, so that when they come here they can see what I’m doing and what I’m about. With the World Cup coming next year you never know.
“It’s happened in the past that there might be some injuries, some knocks and they might invite you to train and see sort of state you’re in health wise, if you’re fit and looking good.”
In the meantime the 30-year-old, who can play stand-off if required, is just happy to be getting game time at Edinburgh.
“I spent four years at Newcastle, it’s a different league and I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I’d been to the city before and I was a big fan, my wife loved it, so I was really looking forward to it and the boys have taken me in really well.
“I knew what the team was about, all the changes that had been made with Cockers coming in. I had a private conversation with him and he talked to my wife and we both decided it was the best option.
“It was really exciting to hear what he wants the club to be, putting both the club and city where they belong in rugby.”
Socino had a little time playing in France with Dax, although he never played against Montpellier.
“I think French clubs tend to play a bit more loose, a bit less structured to what we’re used to here,” he said. “That can sometimes be seen as a weakness and sometimes as an advantage, so I think we need to bear that in mind when we go into the game.”
Further down the line in December, Juan Pablo could go up against his younger brother Santiago, a hooker, who is still at Newcastle, Edinburgh’s other pool opponents.
“He’s signed a two-year deal there and enjoying his rugby. We played against each other in the pre-season friendly which was a first, and my parents and all my family were there.
“I didn’t want to ask who my parents were supporting. I’m the eldest, the first born so that should answer it!”