Former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma has been credited with the Wallabies’ remarkable transformation at the scrum.
This set piece was widely seen as a perennial weakness of the Australian team in seasons gone by, and their struggles on the 2014 European end-of-year tour exposed this vulnerability once again.
However, since Ledesma joined the Wallabies’ coaching ranks as a scrum guru, the Aussies have completed an effective scrummaging about-turn in just a few short months.
Suddenly the scrum looks to be an area of strength, best demonstrated by the Wallabies' dominance over the English on Saturday, when they won six penalties at the scrum.
Under the guidance of Ledesma, the Wallabies are said to have completely changed their philosophy on scrumming, with training sessions having become more intensive and extensive.
Players have been pushed for greater fitness and power endurance, while there is an Argentina ‘Bajada’ flavour to ensure power is directed through the hooker, with all eight forwards staying tight and pushing straight.
‘What we are trying to do is change the perception everyone has of the Australian team,’ Ledesma said. ‘It’s just showing everybody that we’re there to scrum and we want to contest.’
A number of Wallabies forwards have credited Ledesma for much of their success, who is said to have one rather perilous coaching technique where he lies on the ground between the two engaging front rows to observe and direct.
‘He has brought a great scrum philosophy to the team and the main thing is that everyone has bought into it as a big playing group and a collective,’ young prop Scott Sio said. ‘It’s an area that everyone has targeted for a few years now, so we knew we had to combine together to make it a strength of the team. It is steadily improving.’
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