MELBOURNE: Disgraced former Argentina captain Pablo Matera and team mates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino will remain with the Pumas camp until the end of the Australia tour despite being suspended for historical racist comments on social media.
Matera was stripped of the Argentina captaincy and stood down on Tuesday along with veteran lock Petti and hooker Socino for posting "discriminatory" and "xenophobic" comments on their social media accounts between 2011 and 2013.
The team on Wednesday declined to comment on disciplinary proceedings against the banned players but a spokesman confirmed the three would remain in camp as Argentina prepare for their final Tri-Nations clash against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
"They are staying here," he said, adding that it was still unclear who would replace Matera as captain.
The players apologised after the posts, which included disparaging comments about Black people and domestic workers from Bolivia and Paraguay, resurfaced on social media.
They remain suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.
The scandal has rocked Argentine rugby only weeks after Pumas staff and players wept with joy following their stunning 25-15 upset of New Zealand in Sydney, the South Americans' first ever win over the All Blacks.
However, the tour has gone downhill since, with the Pumas crashing to a 38-0 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday and lambasted by home fans who felt their black-armband tribute to late soccer great Diego Maradona was inadequate.
Matera apologised for the low-key tribute in a video with the team on Monday but it was not enough to placate some of his compatriots, including Maradona's national team mate and goalkeeper Nery Pumpido, who said he would never watch another Pumas game.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)