The Crusaders have confirmed that Argentina captain Pablo Matera will join the club for the 2022 Super Rugby season.
Matera will join the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions from French club Stade Francais, who he first joined in 2019 after four seasons with the Jaguares.
The Pumas flanker has been in great form recently and was instrumental in Argentina’s first-ever win against the All Blacks in last year’s Tri-Nations.
Welcome to the whānau Pablo ❤️🖤
— Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) April 30, 2021
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson welcomed the Argentine flanker ahead of next season, praising Matera’s leadership qualities and physicality.
“Pablo is one of the premier loose forwards in World Rugby. He’s a skilful and tenacious player with genuine leadership qualities, who has impressed us with his physicality and work ethic,” Robertson said.
“We’re really excited about him joining us next season, and sharing his experience with our young loose forward group who are learning their craft.”
Racist tweets controversy.
Matera became embroiled in controversy just three weeks after captaining his country to their first-ever win against New Zealand after racist tweets that the Argentine posted in 2011 and 2012 were unearthed.
The 27-year-old was stripped of the Argentina captaincy and was suspended from playing for the Pumas, along with teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, who were found to have made similar offensive posts on social media.
Matera took to Instagram to show remorse for his tweets after they went public, apologising for the offence caused by the “atrocities” he wrote.
Just two days after the Argentine Rugby Union suspended Matera and stripped him of the captaincy, they reversed their decision, reinstating him as captain and lifting his suspension.
Matera returned to his club Stade Francais after the conclusion of the Tri-Nations, where he again apologised for his actions on the French TV channel Canal +.