Crusaders sign Pumas captain Pablo Matera for next season

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Argentina captain Pablo Matera is set to play Super Rugby for New Zealand’s Crusaders in Christchurch from the 2022 season.

The 27-year-old, who made 60 Test matches for Argentina, currently plays for Paris-based Stade Francais.

Argentina have not played in Super Rugby since a five-nation tournament was suspended in March last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We know Pablo is keen to return to playing Super Rugby and we are excited that he will join us here in Christchurch in 2022,” Crusaders Chairman Colin Mansbridge said Friday.

“We are still working through the finer details of this matter with Pablo and his agent, but we look forward to welcoming him into our environment once that is complete.”

Matera’s move to the Crusaders was announced Thursday via news reports in Britain and France.

Matera told French newspaper Medi Olympique that his move was conditional on his being granted a work visa and meeting strict criteria on foreign players in New Zealand’s Super Rugby.

“It’s not easy to join a franchise from New Zealand,” Matera said.

“They are prioritizing the young players from their academies. He is very good but you cannot take the place of a young man.”

Matera led Pumas to their first-ever victory over the New Zealand All-Blacks during the Tri-Nations Championship in Australia last November.

He was temporarily dropped from the team when controversial social media posts he wrote when he was a teenager resurfaced, but that ban was later lifted.

© AAP

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