Former Argentina captain Pablo Matera has been cleared to play for the Crusaders against the Blues in the Super Rugby Pacific final on Saturday after a judicial panel ruled the four yellow cards he has received this season showed “no pattern of concern.”
Matera appeared before the SANZAAR panel on Tuesday night after receiving two yellow cards in the semi-final with the Chiefs.
The first yellow in the 20th minute was for team offending after the Crusaders conceded a series of penalties in defence. His second yellow in the 32nd minute was converted to a red by Australian referee Nic Berry and came when his shoulder contacted the head of Chiefs flyhalf Bryn Gatland in a standing tackle.
The judicial panel, chaired by lawyer Nigel Hampton, found there were exceptional circumstances which meant no further penalty against Matera was warranted.
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence in relation to the four yellow cards and having considered the evidence and submissions on behalf of the player, together with the surrounding circumstances, the committee was satisfied that there was no pattern of persistent offending by the player which was of concern,” the panel said in a statement.
“Two of the yellow cards were given for technical offences (that is, not foul play) and those two technical offences were of a different nature to each other. The remaining two yellow cards again were for offences of a different nature and showed no pattern of concern.”
The decision is a major boost for the Crusaders who are already without injured All Blacks back-rower Ethan Blackadder.