Boks wary of Ledesma’s influence on the Pumas
Mario Ledesma took over as the Pumas coach after a successful first season with the Jaguares in Super Rugby, where they reached the quarterfinal stage of the competition.
JOHANNESBURG - The Springboks go into their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina aware of the threat the Pumas possess especially since the introduction of former Argentine Hooker Mario Ledesma as the new head coach.
Ledesma took over as the Pumas coach after a successful first season with the Jaguares in Super Rugby, where they reached the quarterfinal stage of the competition. The Jaguares also went on a four-match unbeaten run in their tour of Australasia, a feat that makes Springbok Coach Rassie Erasmus wary of the influence Ledesma will have in the Argentine setup.
“Mario is definitely going to give this Argentina side new energy. With the Jaguares, he went five or six games on the trot unbeaten under difficult circumstances in New Zealand and Australia and then beat all of our franchises.”
The last time the Argentines played at Kings Park against the Boks, they tasted their first ever Rugby Championship victory when they beat South Africa 37-25 in 2015. Erasmus also believes that that will give the Pumas extra motivation knowing that they have tasted victory at the ground before.
“They have beaten us here before and they will be sitting back and enjoying the underdog tag but luckily we know that they are formidable, and we have seen what they have done to our Super Rugby teams and the New Zealand and Australian teams.”
Before joining the Jaguares as head coach, Ledesma spent some time as Michael Cheika’s assistant with the Wallabies and Erasmus says that experience gained from his time with the Wallabies will benefit Argentina.
“Ledesma has brought a lot of ethical and tactical knowledge from Australia and coupled with the normal grunt that they have, it’s a very potent combination.”
Kick-off at Kings Park is at 5.05 pm on Saturday.