Melbourne - Australia are out to change "perceptions" at the Rugby
World Cup that their scrum remains vulnerable, assistant coach Mario Ledesma
The former Argentina hooker, part of a strong Pumas pack at four World Cups,
was recruited to add some steel to the Wallabies' set piece, which local
pundits fear will crumble against pool rivals England and Wales.
That view gained currency at Twickenham last year when Australia's pack was
driven backwards during the 26-17 loss to England.
"Everybody made a big issue about that and the Kiwis and the English
will be talking a lot about that," Ledesma told reporters in Sydney on
"We are trying to change perceptions. I think it was much more of a
perception. We have to put the scrum in the place it deserves and that is being
a really important part of rugby, if not, we will be playing rugby
The 42-year-old Ledesma was already familiar to a number of Wallabies
players before joining the team, having been scrum coach at Super Rugby side
New South Wales Waratahs last season.
The results on the pitch have been mixed but encouraging. The scrum was
shaky during the Rugby Championship openers against South Africa and Argentina
but stood up well against the world champion All Blacks in the final win in
Depth has always been a worry, particularly in the tight five, and the
selection of only two specialist hookers in the World Cup squad has been
That one of them, Tatafu Polota-Nau, has been sidelined with
concussion-related problems a number of times in recent years has also fanned
fears the Wallabies could be exposed in England.
Ledesma said Argentina had selected only two hookers to the four World Cups
he played in from 1999 to 2011 and it had never been a problem.
"The facts today are that we have two of the best hookers and I'm
really comfortable with it," he said of Australia captain Stephen Moore
"I think that's covered."