September 15, 2018 / 2:30 PM / 2 months ago

Ledesma lauds Pumas players after Australia breakthrough

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Mario Ledesma has already ensured Argentina will have their most successful Rugby Championship with two wins under their belts already this year but he was not about to start claiming all the credit after Saturday’s win over Australia.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby Championship - Argentina's Pumas v South Africa's Springboks - Malvinas Argentinas stadium, Mendoza, Argentina - August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Marcelo Ruiz

The former hooker has been in charge for only four matches after moving up from running the Jaguares Super Rugby side in August but has already led the Pumas to wins over the Springboks and the Wallabies.

A competitive outing against the world champion All Blacks last week also augured well for the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year but Ledesma believes there is still plenty of work to do before the global showpiece.

“I thought we were lacking a little bit of belief because I thought we could have scored more, and then it looked like we didn’t want to win the game,” he said.

“But they’ve been working their backsides off and this win is (down to) them.

“It’s really difficult because we travel more than any other team, not only here but in Super Rugby as well,” he added.

“It’s tough to keep that motivation going but they do it and it’s a pleasure to work with them.”

The 23-19 victory was only the second over the Wallabies in Australia, the first coming in 1983 more than a decade before the game went professional.

To their traditional rugged forward play and powerful scrummaging, the Pumas have added a backline that plays with real brio and the inexperienced back three of Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy and Ramiro Moyano again shone on Saturday.

Delguy scored one of the two tries with a stylish finish, Boffelli had one called back for a forward pass and Moyano nearly set up one for flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez with a mazy run only to graze the touchline with his boot.

“I think that they’re so good because they don’t know what they are doing,” said Ledesma.

“They have no pressure and no fear of failure. I hope they stay that way.”

Ledesma was a popular forwards coach with the Wallabies before heading home to Argentina last year and confessed that it had been a tricky evening for him personally.

“That’s my team too, so it’s difficult,” he said.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Clare Fallon

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