The days are still early in the career of Pablo Matera but the signs are becoming increasingly positive that Argentina has found itself a young star. The youngster has quickly proven to be of the required standards to match it with the best players from New Zealand and South Africa.
With the All Blacks hot on attack early in the second half 20 year old Pablo Matera was on hand to force a New Zealand penalty five metres out from the Argentine tryline. Scrumhalf Aaron Smith passed to Dan Carter from the base of a ruck on the five metre line and the All Black flyhalf looked to attract defenders before passing inside to mid-fielder Francis Saili. The All Black centre was tackled low by Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and Matera was on hand to force a penalty as Saili failed to release the ball as Matera looked to claim it.
There were All Blacks on hand but Matera was there first which meant Argentina won a penalty. Carter tried to clear Matera out but the Puma was too strong and had his hands on the ball and was on his feet. Two All Black forwards arrived to clear out Matera but it was too late as the referee penalized Saili for not releasing. Argentina was then able to gain field position from the resulting kick for touch.
The work from Matera was very much that of an openside flanker. It is a specific position that Argentina has tended not to produce too many players. The role of the position being to either make a tackle or be the first person to the tackle to compete and produce a turn over is common in New Zealand and Australian teams as well as most other Tier One sides but Argentina has tended to play differently. France´s left-right orientation has been closer to the Pumas policy of back-row play but Matera appears to offer a style and quality of play very much suited to that which is predominant in Super Rugby.
Matera is yet to be contracted to play rugby outside of Argentina. It seems inevitable that he will be recieve multiple offers to begin a professional career abroad after the Rugby Championship. He will start again in the 7 shirt for Argentina on Saturday in Perth.