Wallabies scrum mentality has changed

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The scrum doctor is in the house.

He’s actually been there for a while but Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma is earning nicknames by the day through this World Cup.

Wallabies prop Scott Sio was happy to leave choosing monikers to others but said the Argentinian Ledesma had brought a different element into the group, with his outgoing personality.

“He’s tough at training but he’s very passionate about what he does and it really rubs off on everyone,” he said.

“In the past, people looked at scrums and (would go), “Eugh, scrum session’. Now, we really enjoy it.

“He’s brought a great vibe to the unit sessions as a whole. Everyone’s really buying into it and hopefully we can keep building on it.”

The Australian scrum has become one of the Wallabies’ weapons through this tournament and withstood the pressure of being a man short against Wales on Saturday and Sio says it’s down to the clarity Ledesma has brought.

“Instead of making it real grey, he made it black and white so everybody’s able to buy in and everybody knows what we need to achieve from each position,” he said.

“So when you’re out there training, you know what you need from your flanker or second row and he knows what he expect from his props so we can call each out on it if we don't think we’re working hard enough.

“Just having that honesty around it, it is such a great part of the game. If you’re not able to be honest with each other, you’re not going to be able to grow as a squad.”

Sio said the mentality of the Wallabies pack had changed since Ledesma came on board, a crucial shift for the group.

“The sessions we’d had hadn’t given us the time to build that (mentality),” he said.

“But Mario drawing out those sessions has allowed us mentally to approach it in the way he wants and makes us understand that attitude is half the battle out there.

“As strong as you can be and however great your technique is, if you’re not prepared to get on top of your opposition you’ve already lost half the battle.”

While the Wallabies scrummaging has been the subject of much talk this World Cup, Sio said they weren’t getting ahead of themselves, echoing head coach Michael Cheika’s widely known view that it is the most humbling aspect of the sport.

“I think it’s a whole new look to the team,” Sio said.

“But it can be undone very quickly in our next game or our next week of preparation.

“So we’ve taken the necessary steps in our recovery the last two days and we’ll review it and get the process started tomorrow.”

“We know we can never get too far ahead of ourselves.”