“It means limpy in Spanish – my right leg is shorter than my left,” Horacio Agulla laughs as he explains how he coined the nickname ‘Ringo.’
The Argentinian flyer spent four years with Bath Rugby, joining from arch-rivals Leicester in 2012 and his tenure is one that he’ll never forget.
“I had an awesome time – I played rugby for 10 years, and my best four years were with Bath,” he admits. “The boys and the atmosphere that I felt at the Rec was incredible. I do miss the old times there.”
A physical, imposing force on the wing, Agulla was somewhat of a cult figure amongst supporters and is now longing to return to his second home, where he scored 23 tries in 67 appearances in the Blue, Black and White.
“It was awesome (playing at the Rec). Playing there gives you a lot of energy and makes you feel good and I was lucky that the supporters liked me, because it’s a tough place to come to. When I left, I knew I was going to miss them. I still miss them, but hopefully I can go back soon and watch a few of the games.
“There were a couple of tries that stand out in the memory. I scored against Gloucester in the derby and that was special. I also got one against Leicester Tigers in 2013 - it was a cross kick from Stephen Donald, which I took to score and we managed to hang on for a narrow victory. That was particularly nice because I had come from Leicester and there was a lot of tutting.”
Following his departure from the West Country, Agulla crossed the channel to sign a two-year contract with French side Castres. However, the lure of being back in South America proved too strong and the 33 year-old returned home to be with his family and play for Hindu Club, where he began his career.
“I signed a two-year deal for Castres, but I only played one season as I wanted to come back home and spend time with the family, but there were also job offers too. So we came back here to Argentina and I just kept playing with my local club. That was my dream, to go back and play with my friends and my brother and everyone that grew up with me. I still play a little bit and it’s a nice experience to go back and train after work. I was missing that feeling of playing just for fun and joy without the pressure.”
Agulla built up a vast amount of knowledge in his playing career in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere which is now being channelled in his role in the sports department at the Argentinian Government.
“I work for the national government - it’s important for me to stay involved with sports. They brought me here with my experience of how different countries sports work. I’m focusing on the area of high performance, being a former rugby player, I know the sport well, playing at a high level as well as talking to the athletes to see what they need and what we can improve on.”
“Rugby in Argentina has changed massively - it’s almost different sport now. You have so many people playing the sport now, and it is now only behind football in terms of popularity. Rugby used to be for high society here and now everybody plays - it doesn’t matter where you are from.
Aside from his day-to-day work, Agulla has been following the fortunes of the Pumas working for ESPN as a pundit. The 63-time capped international has been buoyed by recent results in the Rugby Championship under the tutelage of one of his former teammates.
“We beat South Africa in August, which was a very good result. The last couple of years we have beat the likes of Australia, South Africa, England and Ireland, which shows we’re going in the right direction under new coach Mario Ledesma. He is changing the mentality of the team, they were getting quite tired of the other coach and they needed a change. The team will keep going and I think they are going to name another squad for Super Rugby in the future and that will be great for as there will be more competition for the national team.”
Despite being over 7,000 miles away, Agulla still follows the fortunes of his former Club closely and is ready to step foot on a plane should Bath find themselves in a final in the next few years.
“The Bath rugby squad is unbelievable – they have so many quality players, many who I played with during my time there. I want Bath to win the (Gallagher) Premiership - I’m a Bath supporter and hopefully they can get to the Final. I promise you that if they do, I will fly over and watch.”