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'We knew at some point we were going to beat the All Blacks': Matera on historic 2020 result

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Crusaders new blindside flanker Pablo Matera has opened up about the Pumas historic first ever win over the All Blacks in 2020 during his appearance on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

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The Pumas star joined the panel to discuss his move to New Zealand with the Crusaders, the Jaguares and why Argentina struggled last season in 2021.

During the discussion, the Pumas’ 2020 upset over the All Blacks came up where Matera described the feeling within the side and how he had been apart of so many losing sides before that test.

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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 2
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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 2

Matera starred in the game coming up with three turnovers as New Zealand struggled to deal with the ferocity of the Pumas back row. The tone was set early in the game when Matera stood up to referee Angus Gardner to proclaim that the All Blacks need to show respect the Pumas.

His famous ‘I play for my country’ line became a defining memory of the day that encapsulated the passion of Argentina that overwhelmed the All Blacks. Matera explained that the Pumas ‘knew at some point’ they would beat New Zealand, they just didn’t know when.

“That was huge. We knew at some point we were going to beat the All Blacks, we just didn’t know when,” he explained.

“And I didn’t know if I was going to be there. There were so many players that came before me and tried to beat the All Blacks and were so close.

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“We tied once in 1985, and I think Scott, Razor, scored a try [in 2001] in the last minute or minute 82 and we lost the game 24-20.”

Matera revealed he would push through injury just to play in every test against the All Blacks just in case it was finally the day that Argentina got their first ever win.

“And every time we prepared for a game against the All Blacks we said ‘Maybe this is going to be the day’ so we’d go there and do our best, try to do everything perfect and maybe [that would] be the day,” he said.

“So there were a lot of times where maybe I was not fit enough to play but I was just saying ‘I need to play this game, maybe this is going to be the time’ and maybe when it was less expected [in 2020], because we hadn’t been together training for a month and playing rugby for a month, when it was less expected and we didn’t have any pressure of a result or anything, things just happened and we got our first victory.

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“It was something really big and I’m really grateful to be able to be a part of the team that finally beat the All Blacks.”

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