Brazilian hooker Rodrigo Rezende both a barrister and barrista

Brazilian hooker Rodrigo Rezende both a barrister and barrista

Barrister, barrista, hooker. Rodrigo Rezende is all these things.

One of the more interesting stories to come from Saturday’s rugby league international between Brasil and Peru in western Sydney is that of Brazilian dummy-half Rezende.

A solicitor specialising in industrial law in his homeland, the 28-year-old is making coffees and cooking take-away chickens to earn a living in Australia while he completes further study.

It’s a similar story to that of many Latin American arrivals to Australia, who migrate with high-end university degrees and simply make ends meet while they transfer their qualifications.

“I very rarely talk about my qualifications for fear of sounding posh,” says Rezende.

“Besides, I am unsure if law is what I want to do with the rest of my life, which was part of me coming to Australia.

“I used to be a lawyer back in Belo Horizonte, but I was miserable a lot of that time.

“Part of the reason I moved to Australia was to do some soul-searching. What career path I want to follow in the future is the million-dollar question.”

As opposed to many sportsmen who ask their partners to move interstate or internationally in support of their ambitions, Rezende has found contentment doing the opposite.

The former gridiron and rugby union player says he is happy to be backing his wife as her own career blossoms.

“She’s an architect who was promoted to a managerial level within less than a year of us arriving in Australia,” Rezende reveals.

“She’ll be starting a Masters of Business Administration next month, so we’ve decided to invest in her career and studies.

“It might sound awkward to some, but I don’t really mind working whatever job, so long as it pays the bills and continues to allow her to be a shining star.

“My mother hates knowing I’ve been burning my hands with charcoal and hot oil in a chicken shop since arriving, but I have also been doing more things on a daily basis that keep me happy, like being outdoors and having time for sports and scuba diving and gardening.”

Rezende describes his time in Australia as “an adventure of self-discovery and the pursuit of many passions”.

He has tried all of Australia’s major football codes since arriving, but is taking on an increasingly central role in rugby league as Brasil quickly builds a reputation in the sport.

Brasil recently became just the second Latin American nation, after Chile, to be promoted to the second level of International Rugby League affiliation, and the nation’s women have recently qualified for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

“I’m very keen on being a part of that growth and helping out in any way I can,” says Rezende, who was born in rural Ipatinga (population 250,000) before following a career path to Belo Horizonte (pop. 5 million).

“I can see myself coaching in the future…for fun, to keep the mind sharp.

“I actually played a role in starting a rugby club in the east of my state when I was younger.

“We used to perform tricks with a rugby ball at the street lights and hold parties to raise money for the club.”

Life is now very different, with Rezende living at Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches, spending most of his days just a few hundred metres from the surf.

Aside from rugby league, another developing interest of his is trading stock, which he is learning more about each day.

But first thing is first – tackling Peru at Hillier Oval, Liverpool on Saturday in a game that will be livestreamed around the world.

“It’s an intriguing match-up,” says Rezende.

“A lot of us in the Brazilian team have never played together, whereas this Peru team has some players that have developed combinations over five or six years.

“I guess part of what is so exciting, both for fans and us as supporters, is that so much of this is new.”

For further match details and updates for the Brasil v Peru men’s game on February 22, please follow the Facebook event page.

Livestreaming to be conducted by Bar TV  Sports on Brasil’s Facebook page, Peru’s Facebook page, and the Latin Heat Rugby League Facebook page.

February 22
Hillier Oval, Liverpool, NSW
2pm Latin America v Malta (Under 16)
3.30pm Latin America v Malta (Under 19)
4.45pm Latin American cultural performances
5pm Brasil v Peru (Men)

Brasil Rugby League is supported by Samba Times Digital Media, Tagarela Intercambios, KCTT Engineering and LoxtonBerg.com.

Latin American Rugby League is supported by Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias, SHIELD Security and Dr Pickles Tattoo Aftercare.

Peru Rugby League is supported by SHIELD Security, Rugby League: Around The Grounds, ATIC Tax Agents, Beastwear and Fresco Marketplace.