Australia will channel the passion of their miracle-working scrum doctor Mario Ledesma to combat the powerful Argentina pack this weekend.
Ledesma transformed the Wallabies from easybeats to world beaters last year, when they famously dismantled England’s vaunted set piece during the World Cup group stages.
While there has been a slight regression in 2016, with injuries resulting in regular changes to the lock and back-row combinations, Australia still dominate scrum penalties in the Rugby Championship.
Hulking lock Adam Coleman says it’s an area they need to dominate at Twickenham on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT), but one they must improve on after a slightly diminished performance against South Africa in Pretoria.
“Mario (Ledesma) is very passionate about his scrums – something we’ll definitely look to improve this week by staying squarer,” Coleman said.
“It’s an area we can improve on.
“We gave up a turnover from one of our scrums and that’s definitely not what we want.
“We have to really capitalise on our set piece.
The passion that Mario brings to the forwards group is outstanding and we really feed off his input into (the) team.”
Ledesma, the hardened former hooker who fought his way to 84 caps with Argentina, is famous for his quirky training techniques which include crawling in underneath scrums at training.
But rookie prop Tom Robertson, battling with the returning Allen Alaalatoa for a spot on Cheika’s bench, said Australia’s scrummaging attitude didn’t change depending on their opponent.
“I think (you need to) play to your own strengths so we always go in with the same mindset,” Robertson said.
“We like to have a square, straightforward scrum so that, on our ball, the ball comes straight out the back and our backs can play off it.
“Our focus from that perspective doesn’t change.”