Confirmed: Matera stood down, two others excluded for Tri Nations finale - but there's a twist

Tri Nations
by Christy Doran

Stood down captain Pablo Matera, as well as teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, won't take part in the Pumas' final Tri Nations Test of the year against the Wallabies on Saturday, the national body confirmed on Thursday afternoon.

However, the trio, in due time, will return to the national team and Matera is likely to take back the captaincy despite explosive and shocking comments made on social media between 2011-2013 that shocked the Tri Nations tournament on Tuesday.

Just after midday on Tuesday, the Argentina Rugby Union released a statement that the trio were being stood down until further notice.

“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," the UAR said in a statement.

BE THERE AT BANKWEST STADIUM FOR THE WALLABIES' TRI NATIONS FINALE AGAINST PUMAS. TICKETS HERE

The statement came after Matera's social media activity as a teenager came to light, where they range from offensive comments about Bolivians and Paraguayans to extremely racist comments about black people.

"SOUTH AFRICA baby! I'm finally leaving this country full of blacks ouch," one tweet read after being put through Google translator.

Another racist tweet read: "Today is a good day to get in the car and drive over blacks."

Matera issued an apology via Instagram after the tweets emerged.

"I had a tougher time. I am very ashamed. Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote," he said.

"At that moment I did not imagine who I was going to become. Today I have to take charge of what I said 9 years ago.

"I'm also sorry to my team and my family for the moment they are going through my actions and thanks to the people who love me for their support."

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Sources have told RUGBY.com.au the UAR believe that the tweets have resurfaced as retaliation from the Argentinian public for a perceived lack of respect from the team following the death of Diego Maradona last week.

Head coach Mario Ledesma is expected to address the issues on Thursday afternoon when he fronts the media to discuss his team announcement.

Neither the Wallabies or Pumas have a realistic chance of wrestling the Tri Nations trophy off the All Blacks following their bonus-point win last weekend.

Despite the loss of the Pumas trio, including world class Matera and Petti, Ledesma has named a strong side.

Experienced centre Jeronimo de la Fuente has been named captain and keeps the No.12 jersey after making his entrance to the Tri Nations during their 38-0 loss to the All Blacks.

Facundo Isa has been shifted to openside flanker after Marcos Kremer was ruled out.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies have made three changes to their starting XV, with James O'Connor returning from injury to wear the No.10 jersey. 

WALLABIES (1-15): Scott Sio, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Nic White, James O'Connor, Marika Koroibete, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright, Reece Hodge

Reserves: Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valetini, Jake Gordon, Irae Simone, Tom Banks

PUMAS (1-15):  Nahuela Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Matias Alemanno, Marco Kremer, Santiago Grondona, Facundo Isa, Rodrigo Bruni, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Emiliano Boffelli, Jeronimo de la Fuente (c), Matias Orlando, Bautista Delguy, Santiago Carreras

Reserves: Jose Luis Gonzalez, Mayco Vivas, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Lucas Paulos, Francisco Gorrissen, Gonzalo Bertranou, Domingo Miotti, Santiago Chocobares