The arrival of Pablo Matera next season at Crusaders will not be the first foray of an Argentine player in New Zealand. Matías Diaz, was the first and the only Argentine to play Super Rugby for a Kiwi team.
It was October 2013 and the local rugby was shaking with a news of those that does not happen every day. Highlanders announced with great fanfare and cymbals the hiring of the pilar from Mendoza Matías Díaz, that that year he made his first weapons with Los Pumas and packed his suitcases to move to Dunedin, New Zealand, which would be the first experience of an Argentine in Super Rugby with the shirt of one of the Kiwis franchises.
2014 arrived and the Mendoza trained in Tequë He ended up in a team that had players of the stature of Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, and Brad Thorne. There were 8 presentations throughout the season and the debut came on March 1, 2014 on the visit to Chiefs. The pillar entered the 25 minutes of the complement in the tight defeat 21-19. He had to wait 3 weeks to make a new comeback in the team, this time for week 6 of the tournament and with a 35-31 win against Hurricanes at home. Diaz entered 24 ‘of the second half for Kane Hames as the left prop.
Two weeks later he had minutes again, this time against Melbourne Rebels when he entered 2 minutes from the end of the game for Chris King. A month later against the Lions, he temporarily entered King for the yellow and after 10 minutes he was on the court for his teammate who was cautioned. That season he closed it with 4 more games, against Hurricanes, Reds, Waratahs and Crusaders.
He added 8 games and 134 minutes. Everything suggested that he would stay one more year, but he finally left Otago to return to the country. His desire to be present at the 2015 World Cup in England tipped the balance to be in Pampas XV. He even rejected a proposal from the English Bristol.
With 22 years old and in the splendor of his career, even Daniel Hourcade I had it on the list to travel to Old Continent, Matias Díaz had to leave rugby. After suffering palpitations in training, he underwent a series of studies that revealed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart that forced him to leave high competition. With 23 years and a lot of future ahead, he stepped aside, but left his mark, being the first Argentine to play Super Rugby for a New Zealand franchise.