Rugby: Victor Vito heads to France

By Jimmy Ellingham

Victor and Amber Vito are about to to wave au revoir to Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Victor and Amber Vito are about to to wave au revoir to Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Victor Vito and his wife Amber are about to to wave au revoir to Wellington as the double World Cup-winning All Black plies his trade in France.

So far their dalliances with the romantic language are rudimentary but they reckon they'll pick it up when they arrive.

The affirmed foodies are also looking forward to what the local cuisine has on offer, as Mrs Vito mulls a French cookbook.

Earlier this year, Vito announced he would this August take up a three-year deal with top 14 French club La Rochelle.

"I want to play for as long as I can. You can only play the game for as long your body keeps going," he said.

They say the move is for the long haul, meaning their son Karlos, 1-and-a-half, and his unborn younger sibling, due in October, will grow up fully immersed in a new culture.

Mrs Vito's had a gap year overseas and has lived in Christchurch and her native Nelson, but for Victor, it will be his first time living away from Wellington.

"We could have gone to England, which is culturally quite different, but we're not really going to be challenging yourselves [there]," he said.

Like Wellington, La Rochelle is on the coast. It's also in a part of France known for its wine.

Last year Mrs Vito and Israel Dagg's wife Daisy published their first cook book, The Rugby Pantry.

Mrs Vito thought the next edition could have a French flavour and she intends to write about the local cuisine on the Pantry website.

Meanwhile, the Vitos are preparing to get to grips with a foreign language.

There's been a bit of study thanks to an app, but most of it will wait until they get there.

Vito said he'd rather spend his last few months in Wellington catching up with friends for coffee than sitting in a classroom.

Once there, there will be lots of family time anyway as the Vitos said part of the attraction was Victor spending less time on the road.

Speaking to NZME at the pair's Lyall Bay Wellington home, in a living room full of children's toys and with a portable compression machine for rugby injuries in the corner, Vito was philosophical about the one-match ban slapped on him and four other senior players for breaching a team curfew.

The five were stood down for the team's home win over the Queensland Reds on Saturday night after arriving back late at he team hotel in Durban, South Africa, this month.

He said there was nothing more to the incident. He and the other four weren't back when were supposed to, simple as that.

"I think whether the punishment was fair cop is not really for me to say, it's more for the team. We set the standard and were were 20 minutes or whatever late -- not good."

Next time they would watch their clocks better, he said.

"We knew we were late. We were further away then we thought we were. We thought we would be cutting it fine."

Away from the field, the move overseas might also give the Vitos, who were interviewed in their role as ambassadors for food processor Thermomix, more time to concentrate on what they eat.

The rugby player is fuelled by a relatively small breakfast of toast or cereal, sushi or a sandwich for lunch and a bigger dinner.

The pair are also keen on avoiding preservatives and additives.

"People are just not aware of how much is in their food," Mrs Vito said.

"We don't read the writing on the back of a packet and we don't know what the ingredients are. That's so scary."

But some of the more exotic French delicacies will stay on their list.

"Our food philosophy is everything in moderation," Mrs Vito said.

- NZ Herald

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