Ledesma hails Jaguares' learning curve

    2018-04-30 20:43

    Cape Town - Jaguares coach Mario Ledesma was delighted, yet restrained, in the wake of his side's 20-13 Super Rugby win over the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.

    Ledesma said the result – a first win in New Zealand and the third consecutive win on the road - sounded better than it was, but to have three wins away from home and in a stadium as significant as Eden Park was 'awesome'.

    He was concerned during the first half, playing with the wind, that the Jaguares had not taken try-scoring chances, although he felt referee Paul Williams had not helped them with a couple of his calls at scrums.

    "We were a little bit scared to win, we were scared of being in contention to qualify [for the playoffs] maybe but that's how young the franchise is. It's a learning curve," he told

    "I don't know if it is a turning point, or whatever, but it's definitely some learning.

    "The conditions were awful, and better for us, definitely."

    Ledesma said he was surprised the Blues hadn't used the wind more in the second half, especially in the first five minutes when they launched drive after drive. He asked himself 'When are they going to kick?"

    But it didn't happen for which he was thankful because they were already under enough pressure being behind and had been unable to score.

    Then it became difficult for the Blues because the Jaguares started monopolising the ball.

    While the Blues had some X-factor players, they knew they could put them under pressure in the conditions and they also had so many injuries, with important players unavailable and they were lacking quality players in some positions.

    Having a quality bench to introduce was also important, and not only had it paid dividends against the Blues, but it had also been a factor in their wins over the Brumbies and the Rebels.

    "I thought with all the players that they are lacking we had more players of quality on the bench than they did but still you have to prove it on the field and I think they're doing a great job," he added.

    "It is huge for us, winning in New Zealand, we've never done it before."

    Ledesma said part of the problem he had struck in taking on the coaching role with the side had been creating a sense of belonging and identity because it was the first professional team in Argentine rugby.

    "There's ambiguity between being a professional, and that's bad in Argentina, and amateur spirit which is good," he said. "I know as many bad people in professional footy as I know in amateur footy so there's a little bit of that, and learning how to be the best professionals we can and working harder, transcending themselves, being resilient.

    "The thing that we work the most is mentally because I believe we have the quality to compete against everybody but I don't think we were fit enough, I don't think we were resilient enough and I really didn't think we believed that we could compete against anybody."

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