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'To be honest, it really hurt me': What Dane Coles said to Pablo Matera

By Ned Lester
hoto by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Pablo Matera appeared on the What A Lad podcast where he discussed a number of topics including his incident with Dane Coles in the second of the Pumas vs All Blacks tests.

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Matera began the show full of praise and joy for his time in New Zealand with the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise where he helped win another title for the team with his physical ball running and defence.

The podcast’s host James Marshall then revealed that 60 out of the 80 questions submitted by fans for Pablo were about his interaction with Dane Coles following their recent Rugby Championship game.

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“Yea that was not something I’m not proud about, to be honest,” Matera admitted. “Because I know there’s a lot of young kids or young players watched the game and it’s not a good example.

“I’m one of the guys that says ‘the things that happens on the field stays on the field, that’s how it has to be always.

“But that day was a bit different to be honest, that day was a bit different.

“I think he came in when there was like ten minutes left and he just continued picking on me, in every ruck, in every scrum, saying something.

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“To be honest, it really hurt me, some strong things, I don’t want to repeat it but I couldn’t understand why, because they were winning by 40 points, he just came on, I didn’t understand why he was with that attitude.

“I know he’s obviously a great player but I know he’s a great guy as well because some of his teammates spoke to me after the game and came and say ‘oh he’s a good guy’ I said ‘I’m sure he’s a good guy, I’m sure’ I just couldn’t understand why he kept picking on me.

“He said things that I’m sensitive about, like me being in New Zealand, ‘you don’t belong here’ and I was like if you knew how much effort for me and my family to be able to come to New Zealand you wouldn’t be saying these things.

“But that’s it, it won’t happen again even though I didn’t want to give the time to him because I can take the disrespectful… I shouldn’t have done it because the game is bigger than any player.”

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Marshall conceded it sounded as though Coles had taken his “banter” too far.

He then asked if Coles were to invite Matera for beer, would he accept?

“100 percent, yea.” Matera replied.

Earlier in the podcast, Matera revealed his favourites for next years Mens Rugby World Cup.

“If I had to choose one now, probably France.”

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Matera’s full skillset was on display throughout the Super Rugby season, making a famous kick in the final that lead to the Sevu Reece try which sealed the championship for the Crusaders.

Matera shared his thought process on the play and revealed he used to play wing as well as football and still has to fight some of his football instincts, even on the international rugby stage.

“I knew with Sevu Reece, you could just kick whatever and he is going to go and get the ball, so that gave me a lot of confidence, I saw the space.

“I had to write on my hand ‘stop kicking’ because it’s something that I always want to do, it’s like my first option, it’s like kick? No? Run.

“I need to keep telling myself ‘don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it’.

“I started as a winger, I was lighter, I loved playing football and I thought rugby should be similar to football.

“When I played for my first club, they said ‘ok, this guy is tall, he should play lock’ so I went from playing winger to playing lock.”

As for who impressed him most in the Crusaders environment, Matera wasn’t short of praise for his ex-teammates and wouldn’t rule out a return to the club in the future.

“Sevu Reece, that guy is something else.

“Leicester Fainga’anuku, he is a beast.

“Ethan Blackadder, his work-rate is incredible.”

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