Wallabies assistant coach Mario Ledesma will take charge of Argentina’s Super Rugby franchise the Jaguares for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
Ledesma has been a Wallabies assistant coach since 2015 but will return to Argentina after the third and final Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane on October 21st.
The former Argentine international won 84 caps for his country across a distinguished 16-year Test career before current Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, in his then-role as head coach of French powerhouse State Francais, immediately signed Ledesma as his assistant in Paris.
Ledesma then joined Cheika in Sydney at NSW Waratahs for the start of the 2015 Super Rugby season before signing on as the Wallabies forwards coach ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Wallabies assistant coach Mario Ledesma said,”While I’m very excited to move home to Argentina and get involved with the Jaguares, I do leave Australia and the Wallabies with a heavy heart,” Ledesma said.
“I’m an extremely proud Argentinean and I bleed blue and white, but the Wallabies have been a second family for me.
“Michael (Cheika) gave me an incredible opportunity and I cannot thank him enough for his support, not only in my development as a coach but off the field too.
“This is an amazing group of players and staff with the Wallabies right now, which made this decision even harder. They have made my time in Australia so memorable and I can’t thank them enough for everything,” Ledesma said.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said,”Argentina gave us a gift when they gave us Mario Ledesma. 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.
“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 Argentinian rugby and hopefully the Jaguares will do very well except when they play against the Australian teams,” Cheika said.
Speaking about his move back to his native Argentina and the way he wants the Jaguares to play Ledesma said, “Our idea is to play our style of play beyond the rival that we are going to face. ”
“We can adapt some specific issues, but the scrum, line and defense will be the same, beyond playing against other teams, I do not want to change from one game to another.”
On the new Super 15 format that the competition will have in 2018, he added” It seems a fair fixture for everyone this new format of Super Rugby. It will be more demanding and interesting and undoubtedly more fun, but I think it’s good that it is so. ”
Test caps: 84 (1996-2011)
Test points: 15 (3T)
Australia – Assistant Coach 2015-
Waratahs – Assistant Coach 2015-2015
Montpellier – Forwards Coach 2012-14
Stade Français – Assistant Coach 2011-2012