Pablo Matera has been stripped of the Argentinian rugby captaincy ©Getty Images

Argentina's rugby skipper Pablo Matera has been stripped of the captaincy and suspended alongside two other players after the emergence of racist posts on Twitter.

The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said it had taken action against Matera, Guido Petti and Santiago Socino as it "strongly repudiates the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Los Pumas team on social networks".

All of the posts have now been deleted and date from between 2011 and 2013.

Matera spoke of "running over blacks" with his car and was offensive towards Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The UAR said it would propose a new captain to its Board of Directors, with the three players remaining suspended until a disciplinary process is completed.

"Although the messages were expressed between 2011 and 2013 and do not represent the integrity as people that the three showed during this time in Los Pumas, from the Argentine Rugby Union we condemn any expression of hatred and we consider it unacceptable that those who express them represent our country," the governing body said.

The scandal sours a historic period for the Argentinian team which recorded a superb 25-15 victory over New Zealand on November 14 in Sydney, in the Tri Nations Series.

This was the country's first-ever win over the mighty All Blacks, the three-time world champions, and they also drew 15-15 with hosts Australia in Newcastle on November 21.

New Zealand took their revenge with a 38-0 victory on November 28 but Argentina have shown increasing signs that they are closing the gap on the best in world rugby.

The news sours a successful period for Argentinian rugby which included a famous win over New Zealand ©Getty Images
The news sours a successful period for Argentinian rugby which included a famous win over New Zealand ©Getty Images

Their squad is now in disarray ahead of their second match with Australia on Saturday (December 5), with 27-year-old flanker Matera one of the team's pivotal players.

Twenty-six-year-old lock Petti would also have been expected to feature while 28-year-old hooker Socino has been named among the replacements.

Matera, who has made 62 appearances for Argentina and was superb during the famous win over New Zealand, apologised on his Instagram page.

"I had a tougher time, I am very ashamed," he said.

"Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote.

"At that moment I did not imagine who I was going to become. 

"Today I have to take charge of what I said nine years ago. 

"I'm also sorry to my team and my family for the moment they are going through my actions and thanks to the people who love me for their support."

insidethegames has asked World Rugby for comment.