Rugby-Matera flies the Argentinian flag in Super Rugby

Los Jaguares may be a fading memory of the intercontinental Super Rugby competition buried by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Pablo Matera delivers weekly reminders of the quality of Argentine rugby in the new Pacific-oriented version. The former Pumas skipper played his best game in the red Canterbury Crusaders jersey last weekend as the world’s most successful provincial team beat Australia’s top side, the ACT Brumbies, in Canberra.

The 28-year-old cowardly striker was at his uncompromising best in a brutal performance that recalled his heroism on the road in Sydney in 2020, when he led the Pumas to their maiden victory against the All Blacks. “What we find with Pablo is that the harder the competition, the better he is,” Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan told Stuff media.

“And I think he’s really started to find his game, to find his rhythm on the pitch.” The Jaguares folded at the height of the pandemic in 2020, just a year after Matera captained the Argentina side to their first Super Rugby final against the Crusaders.

He had previously joined Stade Français, however, and at the end of last year moved to Christchurch, where he initially struggled to adapt to the New Zealander way of playing. “It’s the rhythm,” he said before the start of the season. “They try to play at the fastest pace possible and get from place to place without wasting time.

“That’s the biggest change for me.” The Brumbies’ game was Matera’s eighth start in 10 games and his growing influence is great news for the Crusaders as they look to hold on to the playoff home advantage.

This may be bad news for Fijian Drua, who will provide their opponent in Christchurch on Friday but will also be welcomed by new Pumas defensive coach David Kidwell. The New Zealander quit his job at rugby league’s Parramatta Eels on Monday to join former Wallabies manager Michael Cheika’s squad and help prepare Argentina for next year’s World Cup in France .

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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