Crusaders vs. Reds, Pablo Matera, Brad Thorne

Reds coach Brad Thorne has revealed that his team will play Argentina star Pablo Matara in the Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final on Friday night.

Matera, the former Pumas captain now representing the Crusaders, received a yellow card last weekend for a dangerous lifting tackle at Reds Center Jordan Petia in Queensland 28-15 in Christchurch.

To many rugby observers, the incident was like Sam Gilbert’s tackle on Michael Hooper, which banned the Highlanders from five-eighths in five weeks.

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But Sanjar decided that the card given by referee Ben O’Keefe was a sufficient punishment and that Matera would take his place in the Blindside Flanker at the Orange Theory Stadium.

“I don’t really understand it,” Thorne told reporters Thursday.

“We had time with the officials … going to the NSW game with the Highlanders a week ago, the results there, just the consistency and the safety of the players.

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“It was a positive response but it’s gone now and it’s about Friday.”

The Reds are a champion Crusaders team that welcomes the rested All Blacks trio Richie Munga, Cody Taylor and Jack Goodhoo for a knockout match.

Queensland are left without injured Wallace James O’Connor and Taniela Tupau as Thorne seeks to create a state-of-the-art blockade mentality against his former club.

Reds co-captain Tate McDermott said: “The fight, the big hits, the environment around Origin and what it means to be a Queenslander were the main topics this week.”

“We don’t see a beef, but you do see some turmoil; once we say we’re not taking a step back we’re in a better direction.

“So the boys are really licensed to go there and it makes a good fuss.”

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