The Puma’s Roar

Patrick McKendry

Author short introduction. Three to five lines of brief description.

Pumas skipper Pablo Matera has slotted in smoothly at the Crusaders.  Patrick McKendry chatted with coach Scott Robertson about the Argentine’s impact on and off the field.

He’s the heavy-duty player with the heavy metal name and a reputation for being one of the most destructive loose forwards in the game, an asset for any team. But Crusaders coach Scott Robertson had to make sure Pablo Matera wanted to join his franchise for the right reasons.

He got confirmation of that in a phone call before the Argentine flew into Christchurch to complete one of the more intriguing signings in Super Rugby history, an arrangement which made headlines everywhere for Matera’s quality and the fact he would be joining a squad already stacked full of internationals.

The pervading themes in those reports were that Robertson, who has won six Super Rugby titles in a row since his arrival for the 2017 season, already had a near embarrassment of riches and that Matera’s arrival would send a star-studded team into another galaxy, and the question as to why the former Jaguares player, based in Europe after the Super Rugby demise of the Jaguares, would want to move a long way south to play for the red and blacks.

Robertson couldn’t care less about the first, but was as intrigued as anyone about the second.

“He’s very calm and a deep thinker,” Robertson says.  “He’s an intense trainer and player but has a lot of humility. And that’s why he’s come here – he wants to learn. That was the first thing he said. I asked him why he wanted to come to the Crusaders and he said ‘I want to learn and understand what it takes to win, it intrigues me’.  

Continue this story in our Apr/May issue.

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