The arrival of Pablo Matera to Crusaders for next season is one of the great news of vernacular and international rugby. Puma will have the first experience in the Super Rugby Aotearoa no less than in the New Zealand multi-champion that is full of stars and in the third row he will be accompanied by players who shine every weekend in the team.
Throughout the season and waiting for the final, Crusaders played 8 games of which he won 6 and lost 2 which allowed him to finish the regular season in first place with 28 points. Throughout the days Scott Robinson used several players in the third row and was alternating on each date. With one detail, he only repeated the same names twice.
He started in the win against Highlanders with Ethen Blackadder (26 years old) as a right wing, Tom Christie (23) as left wing and Cullen Grace (21, debuted with the All Blacks in 2020) as eighth and returned to repeat the triplet against Hurricanes. Ante Chiefs left Christie but accompanied him with Whetukamokano Douglas (30) as 8th and Sione Havini Talitui (23) as the other wing with 6th. Entered Mitchell Dunshea (25) by Christie and Strenge by Douglas. In triumph over Blues left on court Havini Talitui and surrounded him with Grace and Blackadder. Then Dunshea and Douglas came in.
It was his turn to face Highlanders again, which would be the first loss of the tournament, and he repeated the third row: once again Cullen Grace came out of eighth with Sione Havili Talitui and Ethan Blackadder of wings who then left the court for Mitchell Dunshea and Whetukamokamo Douglas.
In view of Hurricanes in Wellington Grace remained firm with Havili Talitui but the third was Whetukamokamo Douglas. Tom Sanders and Mitchell Dunshea entered that day. The second loss was to Chiefs and on the afternoon of Hamilton, Scott Robertson set an unusual third line: Tom sanders was one of the wings next to Scott Barrett, that went from the second to the third line, and Ethan blackadder was the eighth. Sione Havili Talitui replaced Sanders at 67 ‘. In the last presentation against Blues at home, the third most regular line was present: Ethan Blackadder with 6, Sione Havili Talitui with 7 and Cullen Grace with 8. The two wings left the field for Tom Sanders and Mitchell Dunshea.
Throughout the season Cullen Grace entered in 6 games, equal to Tom Sanders, Ethan Blackadder and Tom Christie. Whetukamokamo Douglas did it in 3 and Sione Havili Talitui in 4. In this context, Pablo Matera joins a third row with little international touch, something that his coach Scott Robertson knows that the Argentine can contribute.