Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma has said his team feel “disrespected” after Los Pumas captain Julian Montoya was absent from a Rugby Championship photo shoot.
Australia captain Michael Hooper, South Africa captain Siya Kolisi and New Zealand captain Ardie Savea attended a photo shoot before round five of the Rugby Championship, but Argentina’s Montoya was not present.
The photo shoot had previously been postponed because the captain of one of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand could not attend, but went ahead without Argentina’s captain.
Ledesma was speaking after his side’s loss to Australia on Saturday and expressed his anger at tournament organisers Sanzaar and the other Rugby Championship sides.
Mario Ledesma on Argentina’s absence.
“I just want to make a point about what happened this week with the captain’s photo. The boys and the staff, we felt really disrespected,” Ledesma said, via ESPN.
“Last week it [the photo] was supposed to happen but it didn’t happen because one team pulled out once, and the other team pulled out the other time. And then when it was our time we couldn’t make it, we were told they weren’t supposed to take the picture, and then there was the picture and the video.
“We’re not asking for much; last year when South Africa pulled out we came over here, went through strict lockdown, we were away from home three or four months.
“We’re the only team who hasn’t played at home for more than two years; South Africa played at home, obviously you guys [Australia] are playing at home and New Zealand played at home.
“And we’re always travelling, we never complained and we feel sometimes that we’re getting treated with disrespect and we just continue and cop it on the chin.”
❤️ the respect between three great leaders
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) September 24, 2021
Los Pumas are currently without a win in this year’s Rugby Championship.
Argentina performed well above expectations in last year’s Tri Nations, beating New Zealand for the first time ever and battling to two draws against Australia.
Los Pumas haven’t fared well this year however, and have lost all five of their matches so far. The South Americans have been beaten comfortably in all five games, and are yet to pick up even a losing bonus point.
It should be noted that they are the only team to have not played at home in this year’s Rugby Championship, and haven’t played any home matches since 2019 due to the ongoing pandemic.
Their finally Rugby Championship fixture is against Australia this Saturday, but they are significant underdogs against a resurgent Wallabies side that has won their last three test matches.