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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.


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.

“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.”

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.”


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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Daniel 648 days ago

no one asked Matera for his racist words about South Africa, for having said that he likes to kill "blacks" (actually, n**) with his father's car, for hitting people coming out drunk from pubs in Argentina... a sensitive offender, Pablito turned out.

Graeme 651 days ago

An old guy running his mouth off at a younger guy. Happens alot when you get old.

Nick 653 days ago

That's why Colesy is so good. Could obviously tell Matera didn't have the mental fortitude to handle the chat and it's rattled him. I'm sure Colesy didn't even believe what he was saying, more saying it to unsettle Matera and its worked.
Simply, if you can't handle the heat - get out of the kitchen

Jamie 2 654 days ago

It's up to the head coach to lay down the law as far as sledging of opposition players is concerned, maybe a team review process and a fine when a complaint is made and proven would make some players fond of giving out verbal abuse a reason to think again.
Having said that rugby union is supposedly a professional game for mature men so players should be more hard headed and take verbal abuse in their stride, serial offenders usually end up sitting out the game on the side line at some point.

David 654 days ago

well coles has always had a big mouth carrying on from fitzpatrick like another hooker

Martyn 654 days ago

Coles is always niggling at other players and if he did say to Matera that he wasn't welcome in NZ, then the NZRFU should step in as that's way below the belt. There's banter but that's going too far!! Coles should go on record with an apology!!!

Norman 654 days ago

Coles is a get undet the skin kind of guy. Look at what he did to Barrett when wellington played the blues...real irritating kind of stuff. He reminds me of Bill Laimbeer with the old detroit bad boys. Spoiled rich kid...too arrogant to know the lines of respect and disrespect...!!

neil 655 days ago

I thought the ABs had a no dick heads policy. Coles must of forgot that during that match.

Willie 655 days ago

I omitted to add: the sledging against the defenders when a team scores a try is puerile.
The high fives when a scrum penalty is awarded is nonsense - the way scrums are refereed, the next penalty most often is to the opposition.
Players and Coaches need to be more mature in how they treat a small on field achievement. Or can we anticipate backs high fiving after they make a break?
And while I am at it, issue a muzzle to all halfbacks who make vitriolic remarks to the opposition. At last, someone stood up to Aaron Smith recently.

Silk 655 days ago

Matera is one of my favourite players in world rugby. Tough as nails. Brilliant rugby player. He has always had to play in a Pumas side that were under the gun against the RC sides. He always gives 150% for Los Pumas.
Coles was way out of line telling him he does not belong there. After he had a brilliant season with the Crusaders. I've played a lot of sports and sledging is part of it.
But it has boundaries. Coles overstepped it and should be ashamed.

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