|Born||Córdoba, Argentina, April 25 1966
|Internationals||74 caps between 1991 and 2003
|Inducted||England v Italy (February 10, 2007)
The following article has been adapted from the original by Dai Llewellyn, which focused on two players. It has been changed to highlight only the selected inductee’s information.
Fly half Diego Dominguez amassed a towering 983 points in his 74 appearances for Italy, placing him second behind Wales’ Neil Jenkins (1,049). Dominguez, however, insisted that while he remains in second place, he too has passed the four-figure mark.
“Don’t forget I played two games for Argentina,” he pointed out. “And I scored 27 points for them as well, so I actually have 1,010 points.”
Dominguez is the third most capped player in Italian rugby history, behind his erstwhile partner at half back Alessandro Troncon (90) and Carlo Checchinato (83).
But it was his sixth appearance for his adopted country (his mother is Italian) that Dominguez rated as memorable. It was his first appearance at Twickenham and it was in the second Rugby World Cup. The opponents? England.
“It was one of the best matches I have played in,” recalled Dominguez, “and it was in the most famous rugby stadium in the world.
“We had some very good players and a strong, aggressive pack. We had already beaten the United States and after the England defeat we gave the New Zealand All Blacks a good game at Leicester, losing by 10 points.
“I had been to Twickenham before as a child and I have been since as a supporter of Italy. I watched the fantastic semi-final match in 1999 between France and New Zealand, which the French won. But it is the dream of every rugby player to play there and a bonus to score on the ground, and I will keep the memory of that first appearance at Twickenham all my life.”
The prolific Dominguez did score on that first appearance, although his tally was modest compared with his scoring feats during the rest of his distinguished career. He was restricted to a solitary conversion as Italy lost a tense match 36-6.
If that was bad, Italy fared a lot worse eight years later when the two countries again found themselves in the same group. This time te Azzurri found themselves on the end of a right old thrashing, losing 67-7. On this occasion, though, Dominguez scored all their points with a try and a conversion.
In between Dominguez converted all three of Italy’s tries in an autumn international they lost 54-21 to the host nation.
Dominguez feels that Italy can only improve. Admission to the Six Nations has been the single most critical feature of Italy’s progress in the rugby world.
“For me it was the most important moment in Italian rugby history,” said Dominguez, who is based in France but runs a sports-orientated business simultaneously in Argentina. “Getting into such an historic competition, there are no words to describe the powerful feelings it engendered at the time in Italy.
“And now more and people are watching rugby in Italy. The Stadio Flaminio has been attracting bigger crowds year by year since Italy were admitted in 2000. There are more sponsors, more supporters. Italy is a big country with a population of 54 million, and a rich country. Rugby in Italy will keep growing.”
As will the legend of Dominguez, a man with a golden boot if ever there was one.
Article by Dai Llewellyn