Wed 2 Dec 2020 | 09:53

Los Pumas lock comes to Matera's defence

Los Pumas lock comes to Matera's defence
Wed 2 Dec 2020 | 09:53
Los Pumas lock comes to Matera's defence
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REACTION: Former Argentina lock Patricio Albacete has defended his compatriots Pablo Matera following the revelation of historical tweets that were deemed offensive.

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This comes after the Argentina Rugby Union revoked Matera’s captaincy and suspended him along with Guido Petti and Santiago Socino for posting what were described as “discriminatory and xenophobic” posts between 2011 and 2013.

The 57-cap Albacete, who played five Tests alongside Matera at the end of his career in 2013, was also dragged into this affair by Argentinian journalist Pablo Duggan, who referenced offensive tweets posted by the 39-year-old seven years ago.

“The tweets of [Albacete]… they show that the discrimination and xenophobia of Los Pumas come from before this generation,” wrote Duggan.

Albacete responded with a Twitter thread defending himself and the three players in question, admitting that it was a serious mistake they made but also stressing that they were 17 years of age at the time.

He said: “Please if you are going to say anything about me, trying to get me dirty and taking things completely out of context, at least try to inform yourself well. Do not report only what they send you… you speak very badly of yourself and your profession!

“Do you really think I can discriminate based on just a wheel of old jokes from seven years ago that I didn’t even do? It was enough to look at the photos of my French brothers and friends in my networks since they like to investigate…

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“The Los Pumas players who made the tweets made a SERIOUS mistake, apologised, were suspended and will be punished for them. Tweets they wrote when they were 17…

“However, his behaviour in front of the Argentine team has always been correct. In fact, just two weeks ago, they were praised by everyone after the resounding victory against NZ, especially Pablo, for giving his jersey to a very emotional child.

“They made a very serious mistake without a doubt. But are you the same person you were nine years ago? It would be good if we were as demanding as you are, with everyone’s files… so what seems strange to me is that they have decided to bring them to light just now…”

The punishment handed to the trio is yet to be revealed, but Matera and his two Argentina teammates will miss the Pumas’ final match of the Tri-Nations against Australia this Saturday.

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This is a sour twist in the fortunes of the national team, who only two weeks ago were experiencing the euphoria of beating the All Blacks for the first time, for which the 27-year-old Matera was eternised for his impassioned display.

Since then, they have also come under fire for not honouring Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona appropriately, who died last week aged 60.

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