• Ledesma comes to defence of under-fire trio

    Argentina coach Mario Ledesma says Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino are ‘fine men’ despite being implicated in a controversy around past tweets of a racist and xenophobic nature.

    None of the three players were included in the team to face Australia in the final match of the 2020 Tri-Nations in Sydney on Saturday, but there will be no long-term punishment for their past discretions.

    READ: Argentina trio escape long-term ban for racist tweets

    On Thursday, Ledesma confirmed that the trio, including Matera, had reached an agreement with the UAR to miss the match against the Wallabies before once again being eligible for selection.

    ‘They came to an agreement between the union and the players that they thought it was the best for everybody that it would be best to preserve them from playing,’ Ledesma told reporters.

    ‘What I can say is these are three fine players and they are great human beings,’ Ledesma said.

    ‘They’ve been suffering a lot this week, their families have suffered a lot this week and it’s really sad to see.

    ‘Obviously they acknowledge what they did and they are really regretful and ashamed with what they did and we all are, we all are, but what I can say is they’re not the same people that they were at 17 or 18 years old.

    ‘They are great men, family men, Pablo has a kid, he’s a great leader and a great example, too.’

    ALSO READ: What Matera wrote on Twitter

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    Craig Lewis