Six Argentina players have been ruled out of Saturday’s Rugby Championship match against Australia after travelling from Queensland to New South Wales.
The final four rounds of this year’s Rugby Championship have all been played in the Australian state of Queensland due to it’s low levels of covid, while large parts of neighbouring state New South Wales is in lockdown.
The Argentine players – Pablo Matera, Sebastián Cancelliere, Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, Felipe Ezcurra, Santiago Medrano and Santiago Socino – visited Byron Bay in New South Wales as part of an unauthorised day trip, and have been denied entry into the state of Queensland as a result.
Sanzaar, the governing body for the Rugby Championship, released a statement confirming that the six players would be unavailable for Argentina’s final game of the tournament, but revealed that the game would still go ahead.
Sanzaar’s statement on the six Argentina players.
“The Australia versus Argentina match to be played at CBUS Super Stadium on Saturday 2 October will proceed,” Sanzaar confirmed in a statement.
“The Argentinian playing squad comprises 44 players and the team will announce the matchday squad for the match later today.
“Sanzaar is very disappointed that such a breach has occurred given the clear rules that are in place to ensure the health and safety of all players and staff, and compliance with all relevant health orders.
“Sanzaar would like to thank the Queensland Government for their continued support and leadership in facilitating the Rugby Championship in the State over the last four consecutive weeks.”
— Los Pumas (@lospumas) September 30, 2021
Los Pumas look to finish the Rugby Championship on a high.
Argentina have endured a difficult Rugby Championship so far, having lost all five of their matches. Things won’t get any easier on Saturday, as they come up against a resurgent Australia side in their final game.
While the absence of six players won’t have helped their cause, just two of the six started Argentina’s last game, Matera and Medrano, while Socino came off the bench late on.
Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma has been forced into making three changes to his match-day squad as a result, along with a further three changes to his starting team.
Australia have made three changes to their starting 15 which beat Argentina last weekend, with flanker Sean McMahon set to win his first cap for the Wallabies in four years.