Rugby Union

Mario Ledesma: Australia can become scrum heavyweights in the future

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Scrum guru Mario Ledesma believes that Australia has the potential to become scrummage heavyweights within the next decade.

The Argentine legend sees enormous potential in the ever-growing pool of talented young players in the Wallabies team, many having already impressed at the international level.

However, Ledesma believes that the importance of the scrum has often been overlooked when developing youth players. 

Ledesma, who retired from the Argentina national team in 2011, has stated that the teaching needs to start at the high school level, where the most talented teenagers are spotted.

The 43-year-old said: "In many ways Australia has a lot of Polynesian kids (and) they're built for scrums," via Wide World of Sports.

The problem, according to Ledesma, is that many of the upcoming kids in high school are "hard-running backrowers", who only turn their attention to the front row after entering the club and Super Rugby systems. 

The Argentine added: "If we turn them into front-rowers when they're 15, they will come to Super Rugby franchises developed and knowing what they're doing.

"It's our responsibility to do that, the franchises and the state, but I think in the next ten years we'll see really really good front rowers coming from Australia which will be really exciting", Ledesma explained. 

Lack of work

However, the Wallabies coach who took over in 2015 believes that the change is already taking place. 

He said: "I think that in Australia they weren't working enough. I think it was a lack of work and because of that the importance given to scrum wasn't really there and the players felt that way so no one was proud of their scrum.

"Nobody invested time on working on the scrum or developing players to have a good scrum. The forwards weren't really proud of what they were doing because they were trying to get as quick as possible from there," the coach pointing to the lack of effort and time put into mastering the scrum technique. 

Ledesma added: "Everyone wanted to change and they started working really hard, not only the front-rowers but second-rowers and back-rowers, and the commitment to the scrum really changed."

Enormous progress

The mindset, however, seems to have changed with promising front-rowers Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa and Tom Robertson making enormous progress in 2016. 

Taniela Tupou, better known as the Tongan Thor, will also become eligible to play for the Wallabies next after his Spring Tour as a development player.

Another promising player is Tyrel Lomax, who plays for the Melbourne Rebels and has caught the eye of Ledesma. 

The coach concludes: "Not only are (Alaalatoa and Robertson) really good players (now), I think that they'll be one of the best in a couple of years time. When you see two tighthead props at 21, 22 that's quite surprising."

Can Australia dominate the scrum for years to come? Let us know in the comments section below!

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