Fresh from winning the French Under 19 Rugby League Championship, Catalans Dragons talent Renato Amaro Silva will fly around the world to represent his native Brazil against South Africa on Sunday.
Born in Goiânia in central Brazil, Amaro Silva is a prop forward who has travelled an unusual path to the upper levels of global rugby league.
When he arrives in Noosa, Australia this week to represent the Carcarás, he will be a Brazilian living in southern France, flying on a Portuguese passport.
He will become the first active player from either the English Super League or NRL systems to pull on the jersey of Brazil.
Although declaring his commitment to the Brazilian team several weeks ago, the youngster initially spurned promotional requests.
“The first thing he said was he wanted to fly under the radar, and not talk himself up,” Brasil Rugby League General Manager Robert Burgin said.
“He respects South Africa will field a strong side and he understands that the middle of the field is where you earn your reputation, not in the media.
“Along with the six players we have flown to Australia from the domestic Brazilian competition, it’s exciting to be bringing together a team from across the world and developing pathways for the future.
“Of our 17 players on game day, we expect 13 positions will go to players actually born in Brazil, with four qualifying under the parent rule.”
The six current players from the Brazilian domestic competition featuring in the game have undertaken 2-4 week development tours, observing and training alongside the Sunshine Coast Falcons, a feeder team to the Melbourne Storm.
Among other activities, the visiting players attended their first NRL game a week before the South Africa clash, seeing the Brisbane Broncos conquer the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium.
Coincidentally, South Africa is expected to name a former Brisbane Broncos player in its line-up for Sunday’s game, with Gideon Mzembe in the frame for the Rhinos.
South Africa last played international league in 2019, when the Cook Islands beat them 66-6 in a World Cup qualifying game. The Cook Islands team contained Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Tepai Moeroa, and Brad Takairangi.
Brasil suffered a last-up 40-8 defeat against The Philippines in 2021, meaning both nations will be determined to return to the winners’ circle.
Brazil Rugby League v South Africa
Sunday, June 5, 3pm
Noosa District Sports Complex, Butler Street, Tewantin
1. Ravi Araujo (c)
2. Gabriel Domingues
3. Steven Braga
4. Fellipe Dittz
5. Otavio Dias
6. Heitor Fleury
7. Murilo Manzutti
8. Renato Amaro Silva
9. Simon De Araujo
10. Diego Sanches Nogueira
11. Rubens Gomes
12. Antonio Caleiro
13. Donovan Barreira
14. Vinicius Guedes Silva
15. Marco Mendes
16. Rafael Melo
17. Leonardo Teles
18. Dylan Nunes
19. Juan Casanova
(Two to be omitted)
Coach: Paul Grundy