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Crusaders sign controversial Pumas powerhouse Pablo Matera for 2022 season

The Crusaders have added some serious firepower to their forward pack for the 2022 season with confirmation Argentinian international Pablo Matera will join the franchise next year.

Pablo Matera. Source: Photosport

The Daily Telegraph reported the Crusaders had signed Matera for next season this morning which saw the club put out a statement confirming the news this afternoon.

The Crusaders said Matera has signed with them for the 2022 season.

"We know Pablo is keen to get back to playing Super Rugby, and we’re excited by the prospect of him joining us here in Christchurch in 2022," Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said.

"We are still working through the finer detail of this with Pablo and his agent, but we look forward to welcoming him in to our environment once that is complete."

Matera's entire Super Rugby career has to this point been with Argentinian club the Jaguares but with Super Rugby becoming regionalised due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and a new-look competition featuring Pacific teams, the 27-year-old has found a new home.

Matera became a hero in Argentina last year after he captained the Pumas to their first ever win over the All Blacks in Sydney but his reputation was tarnished months later after "xenophobic and racist" comments he made in 2011 from his social media account resurfaced.

Matera was stripped of the Pumas captaincy as a result but Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said there's still plenty to be excited about.

“Pablo is one of the premier loose forwards in World Rugby," Robertson said.

"He’s a skilful and tenacious player with genuine leadership qualities, who has impressed us with his physicality and work ethic. We’re really excited about him joining us next season, and sharing his experience with our young loose forward group who are learning their craft.”