Planet Rugby

Scouting report: Pablo Matera

24th June 2012 16:39

Share:

Pablo Matera Argentina U20

Walking tall: Pablo Matera

Planet Rugby's scouts headed over to Newlands Stadium to watch Argentina's openside flank at the Junior World Championship.

Who is he?

At the tender age of just 18, Pablo Matera - from the Asociacion Alumni club in Buenos Aires - was one of the younger players on show at the U20 global showpiece. He played all five games for Los Pumitas, starting four times and coming off the bench against Scotland.

Argentina stormed through the group stages, winning all three of their games to top Pool C. Our man Matera was influential in the victory over France and scored a try in the dominant display against Australia.

After those results, we thought we'd take a closer look at what the young Matera had to offer.

Attributes:

After Argentina's win over France, one of the travelling French journos reckoned Matera was one of the players to keep an eye on. His recommendation was not surprising considering that the flank stands 1.94m (6'4") tall and weighs 98kg (216lbs). Not bad for an 18-year-old.

He really looks more like a lock than an openside flank. Indeed, physically he bears no resemblance to a classic 'fetcher' (no Heinrich Brüssow look-a-like here!) and we were soon to discover that indeed Argentina were using him as more like a third lock than a scavenger at the rucks.

Attack:

Unfortunately we chose to watch Matera in the semi-finals against South Africa and the third-place playoff against Wales and in both games Argentina were - surprisingly - convincingly outplayed.

Matera didn't see much of the ball against South Africa, but was regularly used as the front jumper in the line-outs against Wales, winning possession four times with clean takes. He made a good run down the touchline, handing off the first defender with impressive strength. He also intercepted a Baby Bok pass in midfield but his handling let him down in contact.

Not that he didn't should decent ball skills as it was his offload that set Argentina's right wing up for a break from his own 22 that eventually led to their second try against Wales.

His real role, as you would expect considering his size, was as a ball carrier and we counted eight times that he took the ball forward against South Africa - a fair contribution considering his team-mates were generally going backwards.

Defence:

He never missed a tackle against South Africa but we only counted six tackles made, which was poor. Unlike in the pool stages, the Argentine defence wasn't well organised and Matera was quite often out of position.

However, we did like his efforts at the restarts, where he launched his body through the air like a rogue torpedo, causing all kinds of havoc amongst the awaiting receivers.

Work rate:

Like any teenager, Matera seems very good at not looking interested and, to be honest, we were a little disappointed with how often he was drifting around in the backline or standing out on the wing when you would have expected him to be getting stuck into rucks.

You can't fault his commitment when the ball is near, however, as illustrated by one incident against South Africa. We thought his game was over when he went down with a shoulder injury but when play drift towards the medics trying to treat him, he got up, took a pass out wide and the bolted 10m before bouncing a defender out of the way. He needed another visit from the medical staff afterwards!

He said:

"Was a big disappointment to lose (to South Africa), because we wanted to win and we knew we could,"Matera told ESPN Deportes.

"We didn't not play well as seen in the result. For the squad it is an enormous sadness, but we'll take out of it something taught to us by our coach, who is not only a coach of rugby but of life - victories and defeats last just one day. You should never raise your head too high nor drop it."

Regarding his future, he kept the same level head.

"I'll take it step by step. Obviously every player wants to continue on the circuit with the Jaguars, Pampas and Pumas, but I think that is a very long way away.

"(The best part of the World Championship was) the friends I've made. The people surrounding me were incredible. Not only the 27 players but all the staff, because we formed a large family in all this time together."

We think:

Considering his size and skill at the line-outs, we wouldn't be surprised to see him in Argentina's second row at next year's Junior World Championship in France. He'll have to improve his work rate, but he clearly has some skills. We look forward to checking his progress next year.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26