Argentina will appeal against the ban on Mariano Galarza for an incident with All Black Brodie Retallick which rules him out of the rest of the tournament, insisting the Puma lock is innocent.

The 28-year-old Galarza was banned for nine weeks, excluding him for the rest of the tournament, for the action which New Zealand media called “eye-gouging.”

The Argentina Rugby Union said it “fully supports the statement by Mariano Galarza, backed by the UAR, in the sense that no illegal play was seen by that player.” 

“The Pumas squad, staff and the union board believe completely in the honesty, loyalty and respect for the game” of Galarza, added a statment issued after a UAR meeting.

It said Galarza’s career was “irrefutable proof” of his integrity.

The UAR board said it was awaiting official notification of the ban issued on Wednesday and would then launch a formal appeal.

Neither New Zealand nor Retallick have commented on the incident.

But a number of media have shown video and photos of Galarza and Retallick entangled together during the Pumas 26-16 defeat at Wembley on Sunday. 

The giant Argentine denied the charge. He did not get the maximum sentence of 12 weeks because of his good disciplinary record up to now.

World Rugby ordered a clampdown on what it called “insidious” fouls around the eye area in 2009.

Galarza’s ban extends past the World Cup and will stop him playing for his English club side Gloucester until November 26. – Agence France-Presse

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