|Photo AP: Pablo Matera looks to avoid a tackle in Perth|
The high-spending Toulon is not the Heineken Cup champion club by chance. The French side has become giants in French and European competition by virtue of acquiring an expansive list of leading players from the world over. Toulon defeated Clermont Auvergne to become European Champions but the club was unable to win the Top 14 after it fell against Castres in the final earlier this year.
To try to go one better to become French Champions and also to retain the Heineken Cup Toulon has been recruiting more players. One to have arrived ahead of the 2013-2014 season is Facundo Isa. The Argentina under 20 back-rower from Santiago del Estero joined the club of Pumas captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe. Isa was involved in the IRB Junior World Championship in June and formed an impressive back-row with Tomás Lezana and Pablo Matera. Isa subsequently joined Toulon and, so far this season, he has made two apperances in the Top 14.
Fernández Lobbe will return to club duty after the Rugby Championship and he may be joined by Matera after it has been revealed that Toulon is interested in signing the Argentine openside flanker. Matera´s form for Argentina thus fat against the three highest ranked rugby nations has been very impressive. An argument could be made that Matera has been amonst Argentina´s leading players thus far. His work rate, technique and endurance have seen his praised and appear to be the long term answer that Argentina has been looking to find to join Fernández Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamón.
In addition to Matera Toulon is also interested in signing two highly notable South African players - Ruan Pienaar from Ulster and Schalk Burger from Western Province. While Pienaar has been a strong performer in Northern Ireland and Burger in South Africa Matera remains just 20 years of age. His rise has been so rapid that he was playing against the likes of Brazil, Chile and Uruguay just four months ago. Matera missed out on playing for Argentina in June due to his involvement in the IRB Junior World Championship.