Argentina captain Pablo Matera reportedly set to sign with Crusaders

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 30 Apr 2021, 3:42PM
Pablo Matera has been a mainstay of the Argentina rugby team for several years. (Photo / Photosport)
Pablo Matera has been a mainstay of the Argentina rugby team for several years. (Photo / Photosport)

Argentina captain Pablo Matera reportedly set to sign with Crusaders

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 30 Apr 2021, 3:42PM

Block-busting back rower and Argentina captain Pablo Matera has been linked with a move to Super Rugby and the Crusaders in 2022.

Matera, currently playing in the French Top 14 for Stade Francais, is - according to the Daily Telegraph's Jamie Pandaram - reportedly set to sign a one-season contract with the Crusaders in between campaigns for the French club.

The owner of over 60 caps for Los Pumas, Matera would join the likes of Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Whetukamokamo Douglas and Sione Havili Talitui in the squad's back row stocks.

However, Matera acknowledged overnight that getting a deal finalised is no easy task for foreign players in New Zealand.

"It's not easy to join a franchise from New Zealand. Firstly you need a visa. The teams have a quota on foreign players," Matera told French newspaper Midi Olympique.

"They prioritise their young players, from their academies. It's very good, but you can't take place of a youngster," he added.

Another reason why any Super Rugby team would be hesitant to sign Matera is his controversial past.

In 2020, Matera was stripped of the Argentine captaincy and suspended, along with two teammates, over old social media posts which had been deemed "discriminatory and xenophobic".

Matera became a national hero when he led the Argentina team to its first win over the All Blacks in November, and many saw the sanctions handed out as being particularly lenient as he returned to the team shortly after and was reinstated as captain.

Matera and the team also came under fire for not honouring Argentine football legend Diego Maradona appropriately.

NZME have contacted the Crusaders for comment.