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

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