Sunday 25 August 2019

Ledesma eyes up scrum work after 'sloppy' Australia loss

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma. Photo: Getty
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma. Photo: Getty Sportsdesk

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has precious little time to fix his side's backpedalling scrum if they are to have an impact at the Rugby World Cup in two months' time.

The Pumas were unable to compete with a Wallabies scrum - which Ledesma himself had rebuilt when he was the team's forwards coach under Michael Cheika - in their 16-10 Rugby Championship loss in Brisbane.

Ledesma was bemoaning his side's inability to match Wallabies starters Scott Sio and Sekope Kepu, before James Slipper and Taniela Tupou came on in the second-half and kept the pressure on to earn a spate of scrum penalties.

Australia's scrum also provided them with the foundation for Reece Hodge's first-half try and although Facundo Isa crashed over with six minutes on the clock to set up a tense finish, the Wallabies were able to hold on.


"My concern was much more the set-piece," Ledesma said of the scrum woes.

"We have to continue practising our set-pieces and have a look at where our tactics broke down. We ran out of options quite quickly."

The Pumas face Six Nations heavyweights England and France in Pool C at the World Cup, while the United States have also developed a strong set-piece in recent years. At the last World Cup they won 100pc of their own scrum feeds.

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Ledesma also said he felt his men needed to take better control of the ball, especially in contact.

"It was a very sloppy game, where we had very quality ball," he said. "I think we had 18 or 19 knock-ons, some in scoring positions. We were sloppy."

The Pumas have now lost seven successive tests - and 12 of their last 14 - and now face a buoyant South Africa, who lead the southern hemisphere championship, in Salta in two weeks.

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