Pablo Matera was stripped of the Argentina captaincy, only to be quickly reinstated
Michael Lynagh is saddened by both the racist social media posts from three of Argentina’s players and the response from the country’s governing body.
The posts from Pablo Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, which were made between 2011 and 2013, emerged this week and led to all three being suspended for Saturday’s Test match against Australia.
Matera was stripped of the Pumas captaincy, only for the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) to reverse that decision.
Will Greenwood says ‘we must damn those words’ and question the Argentine Rugby Union’s response whilst also outlining the importance of education as he, Michael Lynagh and Rupert Cox discussed the Pablo Matera racism controversy.
Former Wallabies international Lynagh questioned the UAR approach
“It’s been sad,” Lynagh, who was appearing on Sky Sports as a pundit for Saturday’s match, said. “What they said by social media was wrong and terrible, and let’s hope they have changed and understand what they said was wrong.
“How it has been handled, I think, has been poor as well; the lack of communication from the Argentine Rugby Union as to why they’ve overturned their ruling, etc – I just find the whole episode very sad and what they said was wrong.
“Let’s hope they’ve changed, that they’ve learnt and that it’s not the belief in the team or Argentina as a country.”
The UAR said the players had shown themselves to be “people with firm and upright values, worthy of being part of our team”.
It added the players had faced a disciplinary hearing and their remorse, combined with their good behaviour in the years since the comments were posted, meant the suspension could be lifted.
The UAR said in a statement: “The three players expressed their deep regret, reiterated the apology, ratified that it is not what they think and that it was a reckless act typical of immaturity.
“However, they are fully responsible and responsible… and seek to amend the damage caused.”
Sky Sports rugby union expert Will Greenwood joined Lynagh in his condemnation of the views expressed by the trio and the U-turn by the UAR.
The former England international acknowledged Matera’s apology, but added that was a small step and called for greater education to help eradicate racism from rugby.
“This is a minor, minor step forward in his route to reintegration and building back his reputation,” Greenwood said.
“We must also question the Argentina Rugby Union for not acknowledging the severe racism in those words and to call them immature undermines what Pablo has said.
“What it needs is a continual route to education and discussion to try to get everyone on the same page and understand there is no room for racism in our sport.”