Ledesma claims Pumas 'disrespected' in Rugby Championship

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TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AP) — Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has claimed his Argentina team were ‘disrespected’ in the lead up to Saturday's Rugby Championship match against Australia in Townsville, Queensland.

Speaking at the post-match press conference after Argentina's 27-8 loss to the Wallabies, Ledesma took exception with a decision to press on with a Rugby Championship captain’s photoshoot in Townsville on Friday despite the team not yet having arrived in the northern Queensland state town.

New Zealand’s Ardie Savea, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and Australia's skipper Michael Hooper were all included in the photo shoot event which is believed to have been originally scheduled in south-east Queensland where all the teams were based, before those plans fell through.

The revised scheduling for a Friday photo shoot were also thwarted when Argentina's flight into Townsville was pushed back.

“The boys and staff felt really disrespected,” Ledesma said. “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 and we’re the only team that haven’t played at home for more than two years.”

It's been a tough time on the road for Argentina which is winless in all five games during the tournament having lost both tests in South Africa on the way to Australia, where they have since been beaten by New Zealand twice and now Australia.

“We’re always travelling, we never complain but we feel sometimes we’re getting treated with disrespect and we just continue, cop it on the chin,” Ledesma said.

“We spent three weeks in a one-hour radius to get to the picture and all of a sudden we’re 1,400km away, cannot get here and they take the freaking picture.

“They made a video, everyone is joking, having a good time and our captain is not there ... and nobody said anything.”

Argentina conclude their Rugby Championship campaign with a rematch against the hosts on Saturday.


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