Pablo Matera

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

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.

Pumas skipper signs with Crusaders

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Matera is one of the "premier loose forwards in world rugby.

"He's a skilful and tenacious player with genuine leadership qualities, who has impressed us with his physicality and work ethic. We're really excited about him joining us next season, and sharing his experience with our young loose forward group who are learning their craft."

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are "still working through the finer detail" of the agreeement.

Pumas captain Pablo Matera to undertake restorative measures

The 27-year-old and team-mates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino were suspended for racist comments posted on social media between 2011 and 2013.

Matera was reinstated two days later at the beginning of December.

But the Argentine Rugby Union now says his captaincy is contingent on the completion of an educational programme.

The UAR had previously said suspension was "unnecessary", describing the social media posts as "imprudent and immature".

Pumas greats Agustin Creevy and Agustin Pichot leap to defence of suspended trio

Matera was sensationally stripped of the captaincy and all three players suspended by the national union after social media posts described as “discriminatory and xenophobic” mysteriously resurfaced after they were initially shared between 2011 and 2013.

Creevy is a long-serving Pumas captain, having played a lot of his career alongside Matera who was recently hailed for overseeing the breakthrough win over the All Blacks during the Tri-Nations championship being held in Australia.

Pumas star Pablo Matera stripped of captaincy after xenophobic texts resurface

Matera had earlier on Tuesday issued an apology after the texts, reportedly related to comments about Bolivian and black people, resurfaced on social media.

The Argentine Rugby Union issued a statement saying it had decided to strip Matera of the captaincy.