Pablo Matera of Argentina makes a break during the 2020 Tri-Nations rugby match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Argentina Los Pumas at Bankwest Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Argentina captain Pablo Matera was just about everywhere on the field during the Pumas’ first ever win over the All Blacks on Saturday.
The 25-15 victory was orchestrated by the accurate boot of flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and unwavering defence led by Matera.
While the flanker secured a vital turnover with the All Blacks on attack in the dying moments of the game, it’s perhaps best to remember what he told referee Wayne Barnes earlier in the encounter.
After the All Blacks had won a kickable penalty, Barnes reversed his decision when hooker Dane Coles slapped an Argentinian player in the face after the whistle.
That was like a red rag to a bull to Matera as he flew into Coles in retaliation with the pair pushing and shoving each other.
Once everything had calmed down, Barnes singled out Matera, saying that as the captain, he should lead by example and show respect and threatening to penalise him if he did it again.
“They must show some respect, I’m playing for my country,” replied the Argentina captain.
One could argue that perhaps the All Blacks thought that a match against an underdone team that hadn’t played in 13 months would mean an easy game.
But all the plaudits should go to the Pumas who more than deserved their victory on the night.
– Compiled by Sport24 staff
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