Cheika still mulling Ledesma replacements

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika isn’t rushing the appointment of a new scrum coach, as Australia prepares to farewell Mario Ledesma.

It seems likely that the successor will come from within Australia, with Cheika saying last week that would be his first point of call in the search.

Brumbies scrum coach Dan Palmer was in camp on Tuesday, and is likely to be back among the group in Sydney next week, but Cheika said he was still mulling over the decision.

“He (Palmer)  just had a look around, just wanted to hear the messages and stuff like that,” he said.

“He might come and have a bit more of a look next week as well when we're in Sydney to have a look and see.

“What happens after that, we'll discuss.

“I just wanted to - like any coach that's coaching Super Rugby here in Australia - it's good to have the coaches come in and spend a bit of time with us, to see how we do things as well.”

Cheika said he was still unsure what the makeup would be on next month’s Spring Tour.

“I'm still making a decision on what I'm going to do there, not in any great hurry at this point,” he said.

“I know it's a small window. I'm more focusing on the bigger picture and the full-time position going forward.”

Whoever replaces Ledesma will be following in impressive footsteps, taking on a vastly improved scrum from that which the Argentine took over in 2014. 

It’s not just the technical impression Ledesma has left, though, with his constant energy a major lift for the group.

“It's very rare that the backs love the scrum coach or the forwards coach but all the lads have a very good rapport with him,” he said.

“Technically, obviously in 2014 when I first took over the team we went on the tour, we came away from the match in England I remember the press conference afterwards and I said, ‘I've got to do something about the scrum and I think bringing Mario in has been shown to be the right thing’,

“Yeah, we're not perfect but we're very competitive in that area.

“This week that's going to be a huge battle, the scrum and I think that he's left a strong legacy that we can build on going forward.”

Australia hosts New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.