MARIO Ledesma dropped a bombshell after the Wallabies’ win over Argentina in Mendoza, revealing to players that he will quit his job as their scrum coach to become head coach of the Jaguares.
Ledesma will take over from Raul Perez for the 2018 Super Rugby season, leaving the Wallabies short of the scrum guru’s tactical nous two years out from the World Cup.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika praised Ledesma for his work in improving the team’s oft-maligned scrum.
“Argentina gave us a gift when they gave us Mario Ledesma,” Cheika said.
“In 2014 when we went on the tour, when I first took over, we got our scrum pummelled by the English in one game and if you’re a good person when you get a gift, you should always give one back.
“Now we’re giving a gift back because Mario Ledesma is a good man, he’s a great coach and as much as I’m sad that he’s leaving, personally as his friend and from a rugby point of view.
“Not only is he improving himself by having this position, which is what we want our people to do, but also he’s coming back to his family who he hasn’t seen for many, many years.
“It’s going to be a great thing for Argentinian rugby and hopefully the Jaguares will do very well except when they play against the Australian teams.”
It’s understood Cheika has already started canvassing options for Ledesma’s replacement.
One of Argentina’s finest hookers, Ledesma played 84 Tests for the Pumas before transitioning into coaching.
He has worked with Cheika at French club Stade Francais, the NSW Waratahs and now the Wallabies.
Ledesma will help prepare Australia for the final Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks in Brisbane on October 21, before departing for Argentina.