October 10, 2017 / 8:21 PM / 9 months ago

I always wanted to return to Argentina, says new Jaguares coach

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma said it had always been his goal to coach in his home country when he was confirmed on Tuesday as coach of the Jaguares Super Rugby franchise.

File photo: Australia Rugby Union - Australia's Captain's Run - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 18/11/16 Australia's forwards coach Mario Ledesma during the captain's run the day before a match between France and Australia. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Australia coach Michael Cheika broke the news at the weekend when his Wallabies beat Argentina 37-20 in a Rugby Championship test in Mendoza. Ledesma has been Cheika’s assistant.

Ledesma will work with Australia for one more test, against New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Cup clash of the season on Oct. 21, before returning home to begin his new job.

“Since I began coaching... my goal was to do so in Argentina,” said Ledesma, who spent most of his playing career in France and went to four World Cups, including being part of the team that memorably finished third in France in 2007.

“If I’ve have decided to return now it’s because I think I have the necessary tools to train (a team), not only technically, which I never considered a problem, but also on a human level... how to get my message across to the players,” added Ledesma, who replaces departing coach Raul Perez.

Ledesma’s coaching experience has been mainly linked to Cheika, first as his assistant at Stade Francais then at the Waratahs before joining him with the Australia team in 2015.

Two former Pumas team mates will assist Ledesma — Martin Gaitan, who remains on the staff after being involved since the Jaguares’ debut season in 2016, and Nicolas Fernandez Miranda, who will leave his job as coach of top Buenos Aires club Hindu.

The Jaguares, who are effectively the Argentina squad, won seven and lost eight of their 15 matches in their second season of Super Rugby this year.

Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris

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