Argentina coach Mario Ledesma says their scrum has deteriorated due to a rule change in their domestic rugby. which has seen set pieces shortened.
The Pumas scrum used to be one of their big weapons, but has recently become a weakness, which was highlighted in their Tests against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.
Ledesma, who is busy preparing his side for their final game of the year against Rassie Erasmus’ Barbarians, said their once-feared scrumming culture was impacted by a law change which was introduced a couple of years ago following a number of injuries in their domestic rugby.
The UAR ruled that domestic teams would be penalised for pushing the scrum over 1.5m, with an exception for 5m scrums.
‘More than to me in particular, [the rule] is detrimental to all Argentine rugby,’ Ledesma said. ‘Not only does it weaken Argentine scrummaging culture, which is part of our DNA, but it’s also part of a forward’s soul.
‘Today scrums in Argentina last five or six seconds which is why the kids who come to us from their clubs are surprised by the hardness of a scrum, and if it lasts more than 10 seconds it discomforts them.
‘You have to be able to enjoy that kind of wrestling and the bearing it has on other areas of the game,’ Ledesma added.
Argentina have won just two Tests (against the Springboks and Wallabies) since Ledesma took over and slumped to three successive defeats in November.
Photo: EPA/Nic Bothma