Argentina have been rocked ahead of the final Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies after Pablo Matera was removed from his duties as captain.
Matera, as well as two other senior players, lock Guido Petti and hooker Santiago Socino, look set to miss Saturday’s Tri-Nations finale for racist and xenophobic comments made on Twitter in 2011 and 2013.
‘The Argentine Rugby Union strongly repudiates the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Los Pumas team on social networks and, meeting urgently, the board of directors resolves: First, revoke Pablo Matera’s captaincy and request the staff to propose a new captain to the board of directors,’ a directly translated statement read.
‘Second, suspend Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino from the national team until their disciplinary situation is defined.’
Matera has taken the tweets down and suspended his Twitter account, but did publish an apology on his Instagram account.
‘I had a tougher time. I am very ashamed. Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote,’ Matera said.
This has all come just three weeks after Matera led Argentina to a historic first-ever Test victory over the All Blacks in Sydney. The win was very much against the odds as Argentina had previously played a Test match in the group stages of the 2019 World Cup and had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Los Pumas then followed that up by holding tournament hosts Australia to a draw in Newcastle.
Matera had won the admiration and respect of supporters and players with his comments during and after the win over the All Blacks, while a video of him giving his jersey away to a tearful young Pumas fan went viral.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images