'Disrespected': Uproar over detail in Rugby Championship photo

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Michael Hooper, Siya Kolisi and Ardie Savea, pictured here with the Rugby Championship trophy.
Michael Hooper, Siya Kolisi and Ardie Savea pose with the Rugby Championship trophy. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has lashed out at the 'disrespectful' treatment of his side in the lead-up to their loss against the Wallabies on Saturday.

A former assistant coach for the Wallabies, Ledesma was left furious over a decision to press on with a Rugby Championship captain's photoshoot in Townsville on Friday despite the fact they were not yet in town.

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Australian captain Michael Hooper, New Zealand's Ardie Savea and Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi fronted the cameras without their Pumas counterpart for the shoot ahead of Townsville's historic double-header.

Previous efforts to stage the shoot while the teams were based in south-east Queensland reportedly fell through.

It is understood 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 said.

"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."

Mario Ledesma, pictured here before Argentina's clash with the Wallabies.
Mario Ledesma looks on before Argentina's clash with the Wallabies. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Argentina coach furious with photoshoot 'disrespect'

Argentina 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.

"It hurts, it hurts a lot. We have families and kids we haven't seen for ages now, the only thing we are asking is to get treated fairly or with respect.

“I think rugby has values, I am sure of it, and they weren’t respected here. It is just not on.

"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."

Meanwhile, the Wallabies have notched three-straight wins for the first time since 2017, beating a plucky Argentina as James O'Connor made a successful Test return in Townsville.

Samu Kerevi's powerful running set the scene for the Wallabies, the centre setting up and scoring a try to create a 17-3 half-time buffer.

O'Connor's arrival after 56 minutes - his first game since May because of neck and groin injuries - alongside halfback Tate McDermott seemed to refocus the Wallabies.

Replacing Quade Cooper at five-eighth after another understated performance, O'Connor kicked a settling penalty then laid on a try for in-form winger Andrew Kellaway to seal the result.

with AAP

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