SANZAAR issue apology to Argentina for 'error' in photoshoot during Rugby Championship

Mario Ledesma said Argentina felt ‘disrespected’ by a photo shoot that took place ahead of fifth round of Rugby Championship
Mario Ledesma said Argentina felt ‘disrespected’ by a photo shoot that took place ahead of fifth round of Rugby Championship

SANZAAR and Rugby Australia have jointly issued an apology to Argentina following the captains photoshoot that happened ahead of the fifth round of the Rugby Championship.

In a view to boost the tournament image, a promotional photograph featuring the captains was planned but only Michael Hooper, Siya Kolisi and Ardie Savea featured in the photoshoot with Argentina skipper Julián Montoya missing out.

The decision to carry on the photoshoot without the Pumas skipper did not go well with head coach Mario Ledesma as he slammed SANZAAR for 'disrespecting' them.

“The boys and the staff, we felt really disrespected,” Ledesma said.

“We’re not asking for much. We are always travelling and we never complain, but we feel sometimes we are getting treated with disrespect. We just continue and cop it on the chin. It hurts, it hurts a lot.

“We have families and kids we haven't seen for ages now, the only thing we are asking is to get treated fairly or with respect.

“I think rugby has values, I am sure of it, and they weren’t respected here. It is just not on.”

In response, SANZAAR and RA took the responsibility for the 'error' and issued an apology.

"SANZAAR and Rugby Australia management would like to apologise to Argentina Rugby for the error that led to a photograph being published in the media that misrepresented The Rugby Championship in that it omitted Argentina," read a statement from SANZAAR.

"A promotional photograph featuring the captains of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had been planned for the tournament once all matches had been rescheduled to be played in Queensland. A photo session was organised for the day before the Round 5 matches in Townsville on Friday 24 September. Unfortunately, a late travel change then meant that the Argentina captain could not make the designated time for the photo session.

"It was determined that the photo session would proceed so that a photo of the New Zealand and South African captains could be taken to promote the historic 100th match between the two countries. Furthermore, the Australian captain would be photographed in the First Nations jersey that the Australian team would wear in the match for local promotion. These photographs were taken and utilised by the media from the respective countries.

"However, during the photo session a communications breakdown led to a photograph being taken of the three attending captains with the trophy, minus the absent Argentina captain. SANZAAR and Rugby Australia take full responsibility for this error and acknowledge that it should not have happened and fully understands Argentina Rugby's disappointment over this matter after the image appeared in the media."

According to source it is understood that SANZAAR and RA had initially planned the photoshoot on the Gold Coast but was postponed due to travelling restrictions and later it was shifted to Townsville but Argentina could not travel quite on time because of a change in their flight.