Pumas loose forward Pablo Matera won't return to Crusaders in 2023

One and done. Loose forward Pablo Matera won’t be back for a second year at the Crusaders.

Head coach Scott Robertson confirmed so shortly after the weary red and blacks arrived to “Crusaders” chants at the Christchurch airport on Sunday morning.

Robertson had hoped the hard-nosed Puma would be back for a second season, but the 28-year-old is set to announce his latest destination in the coming days.

“No. He’s not [back]. It’s very sad. We’d loved to have kept him, but it hasn’t worked out that way. He’s decided to take another opportunity,” Robertson said.

Matera was all smiles on Saturday night, and on Sunday morning, after finally winning a championship.

Ahead of the Crusaders’ 21-7 triumph over the Blues at Eden Park, he’d stressed how desperate he was to win a title, something he hadn’t achieved in 10 globe-trotting years.

Having been on the losing side to the Crusaders in the 2019 final, when he played a whale of a game for the Jaguares in Christchurch, he played a big hand in the Crusaders’ sixth title in as many years.

It was his superbly placed kick wing Sevu Reece pounced on with four minutes to play which iced the Crusaders’ seventh straight win over the Blues at Eden Park.

“For him, he asked to come here and win a championship. To do it is another thing. We are pleased for him,” Robertson said.