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'No pattern of concern' means Pablo Matera free to play in Super Rugby final

By Sam Smith
Pablo Matera. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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Despite receiving two yellow cards in the Crusaders’ semi-final victory over the Chiefs and two further yellows throughout the season, Argentinian international Pablo Matera is free to play in this weekend’s Super Rugby Pacific grand final.

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Matera, who joined the Crusaders on a one-year contract at the beginning of the season, was twice sent from the field by referee Nic Berry in Saturday night’s 20-7 victory. In the first instance, Matera was the victim of a team-wide discipline issue and was handed a yellow card in the 20th minute after the Crusaders conceded too many penalties on defence for Berry’s liking. Matera had only been back on the field for mere minutes before he was again shown a yellow – which resulted in a permanent expulsion from the match – for making a dangerous tackle on Chiefs pivot Bryn Gatland.

Having to play the fixture down a man for 30 minutes had no major impact on the Crusaders, however, who won the match convincingly and marched on to another Super Rugby final, where they will face the Blues at Eden Park.

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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.
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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.

After accumulating four yellows throughout the season, however, there were no guarantees that Matera would be free to take part in the final match of the campaign – and likely his final match as a member of the squad – with the Puma facing the Sanzaar judiciary on Tuesday evening.

It was good news that emerged from the hearing, however, with the committee deciding that Matera would face no further sanction for his accumulated sin-binnings after it was determined that there was “no pattern of concern” with regards to the Argentinian’s offending.

In his finding, the Judicial Committee Chair Nigel Hampton ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence in relation to the four yellow cards and having considered the evidence and submissions on behalf of the Player, together with the surrounding circumstances, the Committee was satisfied that there was no pattern of persistent offending by the Player which was of concern.”

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“Two of the yellow cards were given for technical offences (that is, not Foul Play) and those two technical offences were of a different nature to each other. The remaining two yellow cards again were for offences of a different nature and showed no pattern of concern. The Judicial Committee found that these were exceptional circumstances which meant that no further sanction was warranted.”

“In addition, the Committee decided that the red carding and sending off of the Player was a sufficient penalty in these unusual circumstances and that no additional sanction was appropriate in relation to that. However, the Red Card will remain on the Player’s record.”

The Crusaders will name their side to face off with the Blues on Thursday, with Matera likely to feature in the No 6 jersey, where he’s started the past three matches on the trot.

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