Argentina dump rugby captain Matera over 'xenophobic' posts

In his tweets, since deleted, Matera spoke of 'running over blacks' with his car and disparaged Bolivians and Paraguayans.

In this file photo taken on October 09, 2019, Argentina's flanker Pablo Matera wave after winning the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Argentina and the United States at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Kumagaya. Picture: AFP.

SYDNEY, Australia - Argentina rugby skipper Pablo Matera was stripped of the captaincy and suspended over "discriminatory and xenophobic" tweets on Tuesday.

Just over two weeks after the flanker led the Pumas to their first win over the All Blacks, the Argentina Rugby Union "revoked" his captaincy and suspended him along with fellow players Guido Petti and Santiago Socino.

"The Argentina Rugby Union forcefully rejects the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Pumas squad on social media," a statement read, after offensive tweets dating from 2011-2013 came to light.

In his tweets, since deleted, Matera spoke of "running over blacks" with his car and disparaged Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The team said that although the posts were old and did "not represent the personal integrity that the three have shown during their current period with the Pumas", action had to be taken.

"The Argentina Rugby Union condemns any instance of hate speech and considers it unacceptable that anyone expressing those views would represent our country," the statement said.