The man credited with resurrecting the Wallabies’ dormant scrum has declared his intentions to extend his posting under coach Michael Cheika.
Following his miracle job in turning the Wallabies’ pack into a force again, Mario Ledesma is expected to be a man in high demand.
The scrum doctor, who also works with the Waratahs, should expected teams from around the globe to be interested in his services – not least of all Argentina, the country he represented 84 times and who have recently joined the Rugby Championship.
But in news that will settle the nerves of Cheika and fans across Australia, Ledesma has spoken of his desire to stay with the Wallabies until at least the three-Test series they host with England in June next year.
“Yeah I would definitely,” he said of staying on until then.
“I’m enjoying myself so much. This is the place I want to be, here, right now.”
Ledesma said he enjoys working with Cheika, who initially brought him across to work with the Waratahs, and hoped that would continue.
The pair share an old-school mentality and work on a rolling basis – with no long-term contracts signed as the two trust each other’s word.
When Ledesma was initially brought in to work with the Waratahs he jokes that it was as an intern on a tourist visa.
When things started going well, Cheika suggested he sign a short-term deal – which led to another visa, and then a third before he was asked about fixing the Wallabies’ scrum woes before the World Cup.
“And I’ve been going from there, every time,” he said.
The fruits of his labour are there for all to see, with the Australian scrum banishing their Twickenham demons on Saturday night.
After years of heartache and humiliation, the Wallabies tight five turned the tables and handed out some lessons of their own – winning six scrum penalties against England’s famed pack.
Certainly it is welcome news to Wallabies captain and hooker Stephen Moore.
“He’s been tremendous for us as a scrum coach,” he said.
“You pick up, when talking to him, the passion that he has for that part of the game, the knowledge he’s carried throughout his long career playing international rugby and now as a coach he’s really brought a positive contribution to the way we’re scrummaging.”
Ledesma, meanwhile, backed England loosehead prop Joe Marler to bounce back from his Twickenham horror show – where he was hooked with half an hour to go following a terse exchange with French referee Romain Poite.
It followed Marler conceding a fourth penalty for boring in at an angle, and highlighted a flaw in the 25-year-old’s technique – but it can be fixed, according to Ledesma.
“He’s a very, very strong prop. He’ll be more than fine, no problem,” Ledesma said.