Argentinian captain Pablo Matera is set to make his Stade Francais return off the bench against Pau in the Top 14 today. It is his first match back following his short-lived suspension in the wake of the scandal surrounding xenophobic tweets published by the back row nearly a decade ago.
Matera starts on the bench, while bruising flanker Marcos Kremer starts at seven for the trip south.
? Le ?? ?? ?????? ? @SectionPaloise !
— Stade Français Paris (@SFParisRugby) December 26, 2020
Matera and fellow Pumas Guido Petti and Santiago Socino all found themselves in hot water after a number of compromising tweets were unearthed not long after their historic first victory over the All Blacks in the Tri Nations.
There was a widespread backlash in Argentina against the Pumas after some Argentinians felt the team didn’t sufficiently honour the memory of the late footballing great, Diego Maradonna, who passed away just 11 days after Los Pumas felled New Zealand at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney. The tweets were dug up in short order following the public outcry and the three were duly suspended and Matera was stripped of his captaincy.
Their suspension lasted just a number of days, with rumours that his Pumas teammates had threatened the UAR with strike action if their captain wasn’t re-instated.
A UAR investigation into the players is still ongoing and World Rugby said last month that they are seeking a better understanding of what the process entails.
“World Rugby is currently seeking a better understanding of the process being undertaken by the UAR and its status and looks forward to receiving a full update.
“Clearly the comments, or any form of discrimination, are unacceptable and completely opposed to the strong, universal and inclusive values that the rugby family aspires to live and uphold. There is simply no place for them, and such behaviour rightly warrants full and appropriate investigation by the union.”
The was a significant amount of criticism directed at World Rugby in the wake of the scandal, with some quarters of the rugby community feeling that the governing body had not done enough and with their light-touch approach to the UAR.
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