Rugby-SANZAAR apologise to Argentina after Pumas left out of photo shoot

  • Rugby
  • Monday, 27 Sep 2021

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - Argentina v U.S. - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya, Japan - October 9, 2019 Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rugby Championship organisers SANZAAR and Rugby Australia have apologised to Argentina after the Pumas were angered by being left out of a captains photo shoot which included the three other southern hemisphere nations' skippers.

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said his players and staff felt "disrespected" after seeing photos and video of the Australian, New Zealand and South African captains published in media after Friday's photo shoot in Townsville, Australia.

"SANZAAR and Rugby Australia management would like to apologise to Argentina Rugby for the error that led to a photograph being published in the media that misrepresented The Rugby Championship in that it omitted Argentina," the governing bodies said in a statement on Monday.

"Unfortunately, a late travel change then meant that the Argentina captain could not make the designated time for the photo session."

SANZAAR blamed the release of the photo without Argentina captain Julian Montoya on a communications breakdown and said it took full responsibility for the error.

Argentina slumped to a 27-8 loss to Australia in Townsville on Saturday, their fifth defeat in five matches in the tournament, after New Zealand sealed the title with victory over South Africa.

Argentina play their final match against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Unlike the other three nations, the Pumas have had to play all of their Rugby Championship matches away, going from one COVID-19 bubble to the next.

Ledesma complained this month that his squad had not been allowed sufficient time to prepare for the tournament and that "no-one seems to care" about the welfare of his players.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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