Pumas greats Agustin Creevy and Agustin Pichot leap to defence of suspended trio

Argentina rugby greats Agustin Creevy and Agustin Pichot have come to the defence of disgraced skipper Pablo Matera and his team mates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino.

Matera was sensationally stripped of the captaincy and all three players suspended by the national union after social media posts described as “discriminatory and xenophobic” mysteriously resurfaced after they were initially shared between 2011 and 2013.

Creevy is a long-serving Pumas captain, having played a lot of his career alongside Matera who was recently hailed for overseeing the breakthrough win over the All Blacks during the Tri-Nations championship being held in Australia.

Pichot is also a former Pumas captain who recently held the position of vice-chairman of World Rugby and has huge respect internationally.

Creevy sent out a lengthy message on his Instagram account that made it clear he felt the players no longer reflected the sentiments they had expressed so long ago.

“I deeply regret what happened this week with regard to Argentinian rugby,” Creevy said.

“I have the need to express myself with the intention that my words are taken with respect because it is from a place of respect that I say them.

“As a group, we know each other. I know Pablo, Guido and Santiago, and I know who they are today. The sordid tweets they wrote years ago do not represent them at all. They have acknowledged it themselves, felt ashamed and apologised. All people make mistakes, and athletes are not exempt from that.

“I particularly regret the stigmatisation of our sport. I understand that there are behaviours that embarrass all of us who practice it, but this is a sport, like others, practised by people with errors and virtues. Some serious mistakes, yes, where you have to work to improve, as in all areas.

“Rugby is a beautiful sport, practised by people who come from different social classes and different parts of the country. I say this because I have lived and experienced it firsthand, it is not a speech or a managed position. Rugby is a meeting point of great diversity, and that is how it should continue to be.

“Is there a place to improve, to evolve, to grow? Sure, and hopefully this job gets done. Hopefully, more and more people help open up rugby more and more, and more and more kids play and share time on and off the pitch. Let’s try that sport (and if it is rugby, much better) continue to create bridges.”

Pichot echoed those sentiments, saying: “All three players’ tweets were wrong. I believe in their repentance and in their maturation since they wrote it. We have to continue making a deep self-criticism in our sport; this year is showing us that we have to keep improving.

“For me, rugby is not the atrocities that I read or hear; for me, rugby is something incredible and it helps many people to try to be good people and also good athletes.”