Australia turn to Mario Ledesma to transform scrum
Australia have appointed scrum doctor Mario Ledesma in a desperate attempt to transform their much-critiqued scrum ahead of the 2015 World Cup that begins in September.
The former Argentina hooker, who played 84 Tests for Los Pumas, has begun work immediately on the Wallabies set pieces after performing the same function with excellent results for the NSW Waratahs through Super Rugby.
The Wallabies’ maligned scrum came under further examination following some shaky moments in their season-opening Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Brisbane last weekend.
Michael Cheika’s men will be expecting another full examination in Mendoza this weekend against Argentina, also renowned for their scrummaging prowess with Skipper Agustin Creevy, who scored twice against the All Blacks last weekend, leading the charge.
But Ledesma, who over a 15-year international career played at four World Cups, is optimistic that the Australian scum is not that far off the pace but acknowledged there was work to do.
“If you look at most of the Australian teams throughout the (Super Rugby) competition, they were dominating in the scrums, especially the Queensland Reds,”
“It’s just showing everybody that we’re there to scrum, and we want to contest.
“We want to dominate over there and we want the least amount of penalties possible and get the referee out of the picture.”
Los Pumas two tries against New Zealand last weekend came from driving mauls following lineouts during their defeat in Christchurch.
Hooker James Hanson and prop Tetra Faulkner have been added to the squad for Mendoza suggests the Wallabies are in for a scrumathon this week as they prepare for the Pumas and Ledesma admitted he expects this to be a weapon used against them.
“That’s the DNA of the Argentinian team and I think they won’t be going away from that and they shouldn’t,” Ledesma said.
“But we will prepare for that and we’re really excited about those kind of battles.”
Ledesma accepted the Springboks were able to get the better of the Australian scrum in the early goings but pointed out how the Wallabies turned it around in the second half, coming back to win the match 24-20.
“We didn’t start really well, mainly because we weren’t respecting what we planned during the week,” Ledesma said.
“But when we started getting it right in the second half, especially the last couple of scrums, we put them under pressure and had good outcomes.”