Ayerza relishing scrum battle

2015-10-21 14:03
Marcos Ayerza (Gallo Images)

London - For Pumas prop Marcos Ayerza, the battle of the scrums will be another cherry on the cake of Argentina's Rugby World Cup semi-final against Australia on Sunday.

"It's another cherry to add to a world championship semi-final (and) a nice challenge to face a team looking to dominate in the scrum," loosehead Ayerza said.

"Let's hope it's a great contest."

Ayerza said Australia had changed their attitude towards scrimmaging since former Pumas hooker Mario Ledesma joined coach Michael Cheika's staff as scrum guru.

"What Mario has changed most in the Australia team is the players' heads concerning the set piece," Ayerza told Argentine newspaper La Nacion.

"Talking with their tighthead Ben Alexander, he said Argentina's inclusion in the Rugby Championship was changing (Australia's) mentality about the scrum.

"They have gone from a platform in which to put the ball and play it to preparing to fight for it. They changed drastically in the last year and that's Mario's credit," Ayerza said.

Given the attacking style of both teams, though, an exciting running game is in the offing.

"It's great to see an Argentina team playing such good rugby and it's a bonus on top of the passion of our traditional game," said Ayerza, part of the squad that won the bronze medal in 2007.

"It's nice to see the global dimension this team is getting and which obliges us to play to the same standard to show our best version. We know we are two matches away from the world championship but we are also aware of all we still have to do to be better."

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