Crusader number 252 and Argentine international Pablo Matera made a huge gesture to his old Canterbury rugby club this week.
Matera and his countrymen stormed to a historic win against the All Blacks at Orangetheory stadium last weekend, and North Canterbury's Saracens Rugby Club have been gifted his match-worn jersey.
Matera, who was linked with the club during his time playing for the Crusaders, said, “this is the most special jersey of my life, I want to keep it in New Zealand, it would be an honour to gift it to Saracens.”
Saracens Club Captain Richard Smith was blown away by the gesture and said it would take pride of place at the Southbrook based Club, “It’ll definitely be placed in a pretty good spot!”
“It’s awesome, we would have loved to have gotten him on the park, but he was playing too well for the Crusaders at the time, but to have him involved with the club was pretty special.”
“He came along to our club day in May, went into our changing rooms, gave the Div 1 boys a pep talk before the game, which they really enjoyed, and as he walked back out he stopped and talked to everybody that was from the club, he spent about two hours passing the ball with the young kids, his young son was with him, they joined in games and it was pretty amazing really.”
Pablo's time at the Crusaders was incredibly successful. Not only did the dynamic loose forward help the Crusaders to a 6th consecutive title, his incredible personality, humility, and generosity means he'll be remembered for more than his on-field skills.
Matera and the Argentinians face the All Blacks once again this Saturday in Hamilton. Kick off at 7:05pm on Sky Sport