SYDNEY, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma is heading home to coach the Jaguares Super Rugby team after resigning his post as forwards coach for the Australia team, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said.
The 44-year-old, who has been working with Australia since 2013 and was credited with the competitiveness up front that helped the Wallabies get to the World Cup final in 2015, will stand down after the test against New Zealand on Oct. 21.
“Argentina gave us a gift when they gave us Mario Ledesma,” Cheika said after Australia beat the Pumas 37-20 in Mendoza Saturday.
“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 (it’s good).
“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 Argentine rugby...”
Ledesma played 84 tests for the Pumas from 1996 to 2011, including the World Cup campaigns of 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, but spent almost his entire club career in France.
The Jaguares, who are effectively the Pumas squad, won seven and lost eight of their 15 matches in their second season of Super Rugby this year. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Rex Gowar)