'I'm a Crusader forever' - Emotional Matera ready for big final

Source: 1News

The Crusaders are no stranger to a championship - a win on Saturday night would make it six in a row.

But there's one key player in their side who hasn't won a title ever - in fact, Pablo Matera's family moved halfway across the world to follow that dream.

His family’s sacrifices haven’t been lost on him but Matera told 1News it’s also been a priceless experience.

“[my son] is having an awesome year as well, he loves New Zealand, loves pre-school, loving the way we live outdoors,” Matera said.

“It's something very special for him and I’m sure he's loving it as much as me.”

Matera has thrived with the Crusaders this season and although there’s been a few yellow and red speed bumps in their journey, he’s been otherwise unstoppable.

The Puma said that determination comes from his passion for the game.

“What I love most about this sport is how you can go to the field and express yourself and play hard and I don't want to change that.”

The other thing about sport is that everyone once in a while it presents the opportunity to win something that represents a season of hard work and while many Crusaders know what hoisting a trophy feels like, Matera doesn’t.

“[Winning] could be the biggest thing I could ever dream of,” an emotional Matera told 1News.

“Like, I honestly have never won anything - no competition and I’ve been playing for 10 years round the world. I’ve never won nothing.”

You can sense the emotion from a man who moved half away across the world for this opportunity.

Who knows if it'll happen again with Matera heading back to Argentina on Tuesday but the loose forward believes he's already a better player for it.

“This has been one of my best years in how much I learn… it's gonna stay with me for the rest of my life. I’m a Crusader forever.

“I’m thankful for being part of this team and everything that surrounds the team; the community, the people behind the scenes - everything's amazing and I’m proud to be part of it.”

And with the Pumas back here in August for the Rugby Championship, it's not goodbye but instead a see you soon.