To me, rugby is a great sport. I love the atmosphere surrounding the rugby community and the values around it. The team effort and the sense of family are great. I love the respect every rugby player has towards the opponent, the captain, and the referee. And, of course, I love the post-match pints!
My name is Francisco Jover Montañana. I am quite a simple guy who tries to look for the joy in everything I do. I am starting a new position as an account executive at Grupo Sothis in Valencia, Spain. I am passionate about growth and digital transformation. So this job allows me to help companies to better understand their challenges and build a road map for their journey towards success in the digital era. During the last 6 years, I have been living in Dublin (which is one of my favorites cities to live) and Barcelona.
Outside of my job, I love sport, travelling, and photography. In Spain, rugby is unfortunately not a major sport. However, my father used to play when I was a kid and he gifted me a ball to play. When I came back to Dublin for my second stage, I wanted to mix with locals, so I decided to join Parkmore RFC. After a couple of seasons, I joined an expats team called Dogos, where we not only play rugby but also tried to fill the family gap that the expats have.
Jonathan Sexton is the rugby player who I most admire. I love how he still looks like a normal guy. I still remember the Six Nations in 2018 where he scored a fantastic drop goal when the time was expired. His perseverance and leadership are inspiring to me.
I first started playing wing position. As I was not very familiar with the rules, this was the position I could mess up the least! However, as soon as I became better, the coach used me to play at the front row as number 2. This is the position that I have played for the last couple of seasons. I particularly remember a quarterfinals match with Dogos, where we were playing against a team 2 levels above us. I twisted my ankle and kept playing. We won that game and all the team members were so delighted!
Looking at my other pastime, I first became interested in photography around 15 years ago, when smartphones did not have those high definition cameras. I used to always bring a compact camera with me everywhere. Soon, a work colleague who used to be a photographer encouraged me to buy a reflex camera and win a photography contest back in 2008. Currently, I have an Olympus E M5 Mark-II with the following lenses: 12-40mm f2.8, 40-150mm f2.8, and 45mm f1.8.
I love travelling around the world to take photos of people. I love when I am able to see the picture and recognise the soul and purity of someone who might not have the same quality of life that we have in this part of the world. It reminds me of how to be humble and find love in everything we do.
When travelling, you cross with amazing people. I usually do portraits of people from around the world. I try to go to a small village, mingle with them and ask if I can take pictures of them. After some trips, I found that in spite of them having very little, their inner is full of energy and love. Kids are so pure and authentic, and I feel amazed when I can record the spark in their eyes and/or the story behind. One of my favourite photos that I’ve taken is of a little girl in a Sea Gypsy village in Myanmar. She could not stop laughing while I was taking pictures of her and I really enjoyed that moment.
Currently, I am starting to feel like I am too old for playing rugby and feeling that pain after the match. I would love to coach a team of kids and teach them the values of this lovely sport. Regarding photography, my camera is always with me when I travel this big world. I would love to visit something different, like Chile or Mongolia if I feel like having a new adventure.
I do see similarities between my time with rugby & photography and my current occupation. For rugby, you have to be passionate and always give 100% as it is a team effort – I am there for my teammates, and I know they are there for me. For photography, there is a particular vision through a camera lens, where you have to think about what’s going on and compose the picture. This is similar to analysis and planning.
My advice to anyone looking to take up either rugby or photography is to enjoy what you do. Find love in what you do and try to identify what could make you a better professional, a better player, and a better photographer. Do all this so that you can positively impact other people’s lives.
I can’t imagine not balancing my life. I am the same person in and out of the job – both Rugby and Photography come with me to my job, and my job then helps me on the rugby pitch. It’s important to always keep a learning mindset – the world is too big, and there are so many subjects/people that you could learn from.