Six Pumas banned from Wallabies clash for Covid breach

Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) –


Argentina's Rugby Championship clash with Australia was thrown into chaos Thursday with six players and two staff ruled out after breaching health orders with an unauthorised trip into New South Wales from Queensland state.

The group headed to Byron Bay for a health retreat from their Gold Coast base and were stopped when they tried to return across the state border into Queensland on Wednesday evening.

Under Covid-19 rules, anyone wishing to enter Queensland from a designated Covid hotspot area, like neighbouring New South Wales, must have permission or face mandatory quarantine.

"This travel across the state border is a direct breach of the present Queensland government health orders and Sanzaar's Rugby Championship tournament biosecurity plan," governing body Sanzaar said in a statement.

"All members of this group are now ineligible to participate further in the Rugby Championship as they have breached tournament rules.

"Sanzaar is very disappointed that such a breach has occurred given the clear rules that are in place to ensure the health and safety of all players and staff, and compliance with all relevant health orders," it added.

Argentina are travelling with a 44-strong squad and the game will go ahead without the six players, who were Sebastian Cancelliere, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Felipe Ezcurra, Pablo Matera, Santiago Medrano and Santiago Socino.

Argentina Rugby told AFP the players and staff were in all in "perfect good health".

"For now, their only limitation is the temporary impossibility to go through the state jurisdiction and return to Queensland to meet the rest of the team members," it said.

"For the UAR, bringing a solution to this issue has become a top priority.

"At the same time, an internal process has been put into place in order to clarify and to determine responsibility for what has happened," it added