Inspirational number eight Pablo Matera is revelling in Argentina’s victory over New Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Pumas defeated the All Blacks for the first time on New Zealand soil by overcoming Ian Foster’s men 25-18 at Orangetheory Stadium.
They lead the Rugby Championship table after three rounds, but the number eight is still celebrating their latest result.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he told reporters.
“Being able to beat the All Blacks for the first time in our history on New Zealand ground is very special, and to do it in Christchurch, a place that I love, a place that I feel like is home, is even more special.”
Those comments were echoed by hooker Julian Montoya, another player to produce an outstanding individual performance in Christchurch.
“I’m very proud of our team, we are starting to believe what we can do, not just a magic moment like our first win (in Sydney),” Montoya said. “Very, very happy, very, very proud, it’s a very special moment for us.”
Head coach Cheika was slightly more circumspect as the former Wallabies boss is still looking for improvements ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France.
“For those Argentina boys, that’s historic for them and I want them to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a first for me too, I’ve never won a Test match in New Zealand.
“I’m looking to grow the team, particularly towards the World Cup, and what’s important for us now is getting ready for next week, because they’re going to come back with every piece of artillery they’ve got, and we’ve got to find a way to handle that and give something back.”
A clip at half-time showed Cheika giving an impassioned speech ahead of the second period and the 55-year-old revealed what he has been trying to get across to his players over the past few weeks.
“They are guys who haven’t won a lot of Rugby Championship games, and maybe do not have a lot of self belief,” he said. “So you’ve got to bring (emotion) as well as the technical to make them believe in themselves.
“We knew we had to bring intensity, we knew they had a bit of pressure on them, so we had to try and build on that, and then just take it from there and see where the game lands.”
READ MORE: Outstanding Argentina stun the All Blacks to put Ian Foster back under pressure
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