Ledesma wary of his 'Puma sons'

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 11:03

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma is having to endure a good bit of ribbing from his compatriots this week.

The Argentinian, who played 84 Tests for the Pumas before he retired after four World Cup appearances in 2011 , is plotting the downfall of Argentina - when they meet Australia in a Rugby Championship match in Perth on Saturday.

The match is crucial in the race for second place in the Southern Hemisphere championship and Ledesma admitted to being wary of the threat posed by his countrymen.

Having played his last game five years ago, Ledesma said the "evolution" of the Pumas has been remarkable.

"Most of the players could be my sons," Ledesma said in an interview on rugby.com.au.

"When I played we didn't throw the ball around a lot and this team does it a lot," he said of Argentina's new-found expansive game.

"The [Puma] DNA changed a little bit, they're focusing on other skills."

Argentina's offloading game against the All Blacks epitomised the improvement that the Pumas have made, but it was no surprise to Ledesma.

"They worked for that," he said.

"Whenever they started playing Rugby Championship and now Super Rugby that was the main focus, on skills.

"I think they're doing a great job."

Ledesma admitted there's been a good bit of banter from his compatriots.

"[There are] some calls and everybody treating me like I'm a traitor or something, but it's all good," he quipped.

"It's a good thing that I'm in the stands and I'm not playing but it's always special.

"Obviously I played a long time for them and I'm a very proud Argentinian.

"The team and the coaching staff over there, I'm really good friends with and they've always been really supportive of what I'm doing over here so there are no issues there."

Argentina's rise since the start of the Rugby Championship has been impossible to ignore, adding dangerous offloading to an arsenal of set-piece skills.

Wallaby loose forward Michael Hooper said the crucial thing for the Wallabies would be starting well, after giving up a 14-3 lead against South Africa last week.

"They came out of the blocks hard last night and we've started slow in all our games this year so certainly something we need to rectify come next week," Hooper told rugby.com.au.

"They're good around the field, their offload play is brilliant and they're just a different outfit.

"We don't play them too much - we play the Kiwis, the South Africans a lot so it's a different style.

"It's something we're getting more used to but not something we're fully across yet."

Source: rugby.com.au

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 30
Australia 6 3 0 3 14
South Africa 6 2 0 4 10
Argentina 6 1 0 5 5