Argentina coach Mario Ledesma believes his team was treated disrespectfully after they weren’t included in a Rugby Championship photoshoot in Townsville.
Ledesma delivered a post-game press conference tirade with a twist, labelling treatment of his team in the lead-up to Saturday’s Wallabies clash in Townsville disrespectful.
Ledesma, a former assistant coach with the Wallabies, took aim at the decision to press on with a Rugby Championship captain’s photoshoot in Townsville on Friday despite the fact they were not yet in town.
Instead, Australian captain Michael Hooper, New Zealand’s Ardie Savea and Springboks leader Siya Kolisi were left to front cameras for the shoot ahead of Townsville’s historic double-header.
It’s understood previous efforts to stage the shoot while the teams were based in south-east Queensland fell through and that plans to reschedule on Friday with all four teams were thwarted when Argentina’s flight was pushed back from its original time.
Winless in all five games during the tournament, including a 27-8 loss to the Wallabies on Saturday, Ledesma was clearly unimpressed when he discovered the shoot went ahead anyway.
“The boys and staff felt really disrespected,” the coach, who is being assisted by former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, volunteered.
“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.”
Los Pumas drew and won against Wales before losing two Tests away to South Africa en route to Australia, where they have since lost twice to New Zealand and once to Australia.
The stage is set for a spicy conclusion to their Rugby Championship, with a rematch against the hosts on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
“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 1400km 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.”