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'Doesn't seem very fair': Pablo Matera's impending move to the Crusaders has split the fanbase

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

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Argentina captain Pablo Matera has signed for the Crusaders for next season.

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The 27-year-old will join the reigning Super Rugby champions on a one-year deal at the conclusion of his contract with Stade Francais.

Matera captained the Jaguares to their first-ever Super Rugby finals appearance in 2019 but, after the Argentinian club was effectively disbanded following Super Rugby’s shake-up last year, the loose forward shifted north in search of greater professional opportunities.

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He expressed an interest in a return to the Southern Hemisphere competition, however, and will link up with arguably the greatest club of the modern era when he heads to New Zealand for the 2022 season.

Matera has been a solid performer for the Jaguares and Pumas for a number of years but it was his passion and performance in Argentina’s historic first-ever victory over the All Blacks last year that really put his name on the radar.

While there’s no doubting his on-field prowess, Matera was stood down shortly after the win and stripped of his captaincy after racist social media comments from the past emerged in the wake of the victory.

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Although he was later reinstated into the Pumas, it’s the comments he made that have left some wondering why the Crusaders would be interested in signing the 66-cap flanker.

That’s especially true, given the Crusaders have undergone a significant review in recent years to determine whether the franchise’s identity and symbolism were appropriate for the modern era following the racism-driven Christchurch massacre in early 2019 – which prompted the team to change their logo and adapt their brand.

As such, the signing has been met by a mixed response.

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Some are excited to see one of the best loose forwards in the world playing in New Zealand.

While some are unsure whether Christchurch is the right destination for the Puma

https://twitter.com/TalksRugby/status/1387979522067243013

All and sundry, however, acknowledged that Matera is a huge talent and someone that could help the Crusaders continue to set the Super Rugby standard.

Matera will compete with the likes of Tom Christie and Cullen Grace for minutes in the loose forwards while the likes of Ethan Blackadder, Sione Havili Talitui and Whetukamokamo Douglas are yet to confirm where they will be playing their rugby next season.

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'Doesn't seem very fair': Pablo Matera's impending move to the Crusaders has split the fanbase

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