Six players and two staff members from Argentina punished for breaching health orders

Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma will have to deal with the absence of six players
Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma will have to deal with the absence of six players

SANZAAR has confirmed that six players from Argentina and two staff members have been expelled from the Rugby Championship following a breach in health orders.

All the four teams have been placed in a biosecurity protocol following a Covid-19 outbreak in Brisbane with the players and staff members forced to isolate in team hotels and were permitted to train only in closed sessions.

However, it was confirmed that Pablo Matera, Sebastian Cancelliere, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Felipe Ezcurra, Santiago Medrano and Santiago Socino, the team manager Lucas Chioccarelli and video analyst Rodrigo Martinez went for an unauthorised trip to Byron Bay following which they were not allowed to enter the bio bubble.

A statement from SANZAAR confirmed that the game between Argentina and Australia will happen as per the schedule on Saturday with the six players and two staff members will be deemed ineligible to participate further in the tournament.

“Following consultation with the Queensland Government, SANZAAR is aware that several members of the Argentinean rugby team were stopped at the Queensland border after a visit to Byron Bay in New South Wales on Wednesday, 29 September. This travel across the state border is a direct breach of the present Queensland Government health orders and SANZAAR’s Rugby Championship tournament biosecurity plan,” the statement read.

“SANZAAR has informed Argentina Rugby that all members of this group are now ineligible to participate further in The Rugby Championship as they have breached tournament rules.

“These team members, comprising six players and two team management staff, crossed the border on their scheduled day off without the permission of the tournament and without seeking clarity on their ability to re-enter Queensland under the existing Covid border restrictions.

“The group will now stay in New South Wales and will not be available for the round six match against Australia on the Gold Coast on Saturday. They will rejoin the rest of the touring squad on Sunday to fly back to Argentina.

“The Australia versus Argentina match to be played at CBUS Super Stadium on Saturday, 2 October will proceed. The Argentinean playing squad comprises 44 players and the team will announce the matchday squad for the match later today.”