Wallabies relishing taking on former mentor
THE Wallabies hope they are still profiting from lessons learnt under their former forwards coach Mario Ledesma, as they prepare to face an Argentinian team now under his stewardship.
Former Pumas hooker Ledesma had a strong association with Australian rugby and especially Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
He was forwards coach at French club Stade Francais under Cheika, who brought him to Australia to help out at the NSW Waratahs and then the Wallabies.
Recently appointed Argentina's national head coach, Ledesma will lead the country of his birth into battle against Australia in Saturday's Rugby Championship match on the Gold Coast.
"Very passionate but also quite technical," Wallabies' prop Scott Sio said of Ledesma.
"He knew when to take you aside and have a one-on-one chat and then he also had the ability to really get the team up and get them going for a session.
"He was a great believer in how you train is how you're going to play on the weekend and making the most of your training.
"That was one thing we really got from him and I think hopefully it's something that we've kept."
After leaving the Wallabies in late 2017, Ledesma enjoyed success with the Jaguares, leading Argentina's Super Rugby representative to the playoffs for the first time, in his only season at the franchise.
Appointed Pumas head coach at the start of last month, they have shown promising signs in their first three outings under his leadership.
They had a 13-point away loss and a home win by the same margin in their matches against South Africa .
In their most recent game last weekend, they lost away to New Zealand by 22, a smaller margin than Australia's two defeats by the world champion All Blacks in the first two rounds.
'The scoreline didn't reflect how that game actually went on the weekend for them." Sio said.
"I thought they had some great play in attack and really challenged the All Blacks for quite a lot of time in that game.
"So just looking forward to the battle, I think it will be a physical 80 minutes and then we look forward to seeing him (Ledesma) after."
Sio revealed one aspect of the Wallabies Ledesma found hard to appreciate.
"He was never happy about the different coloured boots that we wore," Sio said.
"He was always a big believer - like my dad - in black boots all the way."