Mateo Carreras, the great little Puma: from “surviving in this world of big guys” to “working 24 hours a day as a taxi driver”

Despite what everyone assumes, Matthew Carreras has a relative in The Pumas, but it is not its namesake, Santiago, from Córdoba. But he is another Tucumán, his brother-in-law Nicolas Sanchez, from whom he learned some things. However, this little giant of 1.74 meters and 84 kilos, at his young 23 years He is making his own idem (career), and based on efforts, blows and the apparent physical disadvantage, he goes through it with enormous success and future.

Emerged in Los Tarcos, a club he joined at the age of 5 thanks to dad Juanwho also reached the Primera of that San Miguel team, rose phearing all the steps of the blue and white, even in the national sevens, in which he played four stages of the World Tour. He played in two youth World Cups, in Argentina XV and even in Jaguares, when the UAR hired him at 19 years old. He now also defends the colors of English Newcastle.

In Los Pumas he debuted on 9/25/2021 in 8-27 vs. Australia visiting, and became the 877th player to wear the national jersey, “a personal dream”, he declared. Although in 2022, In Michael Cheika’s first list, they lowered him to Argentina XV, he did not give up and rowed until he got 11 which he wore in six World Cup games, except against Chile, when the team was made up of a majority of substitutes.

Mateo turns to George Ford.Mateo turns to George Ford.

Having finished fourth place, Mateo spoke exclusively with Ole and reflected on the last game. “I think this team was ready for more. Last week I had reconsidered whether we were up to this level because New Zealand had surpassed us in all areas, and this time I tell you that after playing against England, one of the best teams in the world , gaining contact, territory, everything, one realizes that it depends on something else, not so much on us. I think we did our job very well. There we had those ups and downs: we scored a try, then we came back and they scored quickly. “They are lack of concentration, unforced errors.”

Mateo runs against England.Mateo runs against England.

Already entering the personal part, he recalled his failed start to 2022 with Cheika: “I think that Mateo from 2022 who is left out (of Los Pumas) has benefited a lot from self-criticism. Today I tell you that the play that I have to play one against one, collide, I have to see it, say if it is the right choice. Maybe it was stepping, kicking or another decision. “I have to be self-critical again, to be that Mateo again to build upwards.”

-But it can become your style, a way to leave your mark with your apparent physical disadvantage…

-Every time I put on the shirt I not only try to make my club, my family and my friends feel represented, but also to inspire the kids who are in the youth and children’s ranks today. That you don’t have to be the tallest, the strongest, the most skilled, but you have to survive… I remember a phrase that they told me, that I had to survive in this world of big people, and that was to find a way become strong in something and get into it and get into it. I think that’s what it is, perseverance. I really like and use the phrase a lot that the wall doesn’t break on the first hit, you have to hit it, hit it and hit it. until it breaks. Against England I think I lacked something to break the defense and score the try.

One of Mateo's three tries against Japan.One of Mateo’s three tries against Japan.

I had to survive in this world of big guys, and I had to find a way to become strong at something and get into it and get into it.

-Do you start thinking about when you face the big guys?

-I think that not even Messi has time for that much… When I catch the ball I try to get there, and if he is very big and doesn’t bend down to tackle, it is a high tackle, which I think happened against England. And if he bends down a lot, it favors me because of the center of gravity.. I think that when I have the ball it favors me more.

-Were you never afraid of ending up hurt?

-I think that’s why I train and try to prepare the machine. I have a teacher in Tucumán who tells me that we have to work like taxi drivers, 24 hours a day, work, work, work. Leave the machine ready to work and, as I told you, we had had a very tough game last week with New Zealand. We have had seven days to recover and we knew that England was going to be a very physical match, that if they didn’t kick it, they would come to hit us. More like I have to defend now, on the first line, I knew he was going to hit me twice as hard, so I try to prepare the machine and hit him.

Mateo tras la semi vs. All Blacks.Mateo tras la semi vs. All Blacks.

We have to work like taxi drivers, 24 hours a day work, work, work.

-What did you learn in this World Cup?

-I think that in all the games something has been learned. That’s why this game took me not to do the switch off the one that Michael (Cheika) says: don’t blink when you score a try, relax when saying “we’re up” or something like that. That’s why stepping on the neck for 80 minutes and not letting up for a momentbecause when we let up, we eat a try and it changes the whole game.

-How do you see the group in the future?

-We still don’t know anything about who is leaving, but I think Agustín (Creevy), Nico (Sánchez), Frankie (Gómez Kodela) and Nahuel (Tetaz Chaparro), the biggest ones, are ready for another World Cup. And if he touches the replacement, he should grab the shirt up to where we left it and put it higher. And if this group continues, I think it is the best group I shared in my life. It’s a hell of a human group, we get along very well, there is a sincere and real relationship.. If you look, there are 37 of us with Sepi Albornoz, Nahuel, Santi Grondona, with all of them there is something more than a friendship. What is least talked about is rugby in this group. I’ll take that.

-The bronze escaped. Will you go for revenge?

-Yeah. I always want more. When I lost to New Zealand I wanted… I want to come back in four years and be able to win the gold. I think this group was for that. We have had meetings every week since March with this group, working very hard, doing very hard preparation because we wanted to be in the final. For one reason or another it didn’t happen to us, but later we had set the goal of a medal that was due to outside things (NdeR; the referee on the team was questioned) he leaves in 80 minutes, 23 against 23 on the field, but sometimes it happens that it is not because of you nor is it because of them. Saying that you have chipped the stone so much and it doesn’t break, you end up getting frustrated…

Mateo’s bumps

The Pumas 29-10-2023

The two hits by Mateo Carreras against England


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