Tahs ready to tackle "scrum guru" Ledesma

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Waratahs will face a familiar foe in the Mario Ledesma led Jaguares scrum on Sunday, though their familiarity won't provide any sort of edge, according to prop Tom Robertson.

Ledesma was Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's right hand man dating back to their Stade Francais days in 2011, overhauling the Waratahs and Wallabies scrums before taking up the top job with the Jaguares prior to the 2018 Super Rugby season.

The "scrum guru" is one of the masters of the dark art of scrummaging and Robertson shed some light on what makes his tutelage stand out from the rest.

"Mario's one of the legends of the game," Robertson told reporters from Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

"You don't play in four or five Rugby World Cups and play for your country at such a high level for so long and not learn a few things.The Waratahs scrum has copped some heat in the opening fortnight. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He's very good at putting a practical perspective on what we want to do, from a scrum perspective.

"A lot of coaches talk about what's good to do and what they want you to do but they can't explain how to do it.

"Mario is very good at explaining how to do it because he's been there and he knows what it feels like in the middle of the scrum.

"He's been all around the world, played in France, Argentina and he's picked up a lot of information there that he's using now.

"He's the scrum guru."

While he had a long association with both the Waratahs and Wallabies, Robertson and the rest of the front row will be focusing on dictating each scrum on their own terms, rather than focusing on the Jaguares.

"Because we're trying to do our own thing and scrummage the way we want to scrummage we don't really take into consideration what they're doing," Robertson said.Mario Ledesma has tutored the Australian scrum for years. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We want to do our things a certain way and we want the scrums to run how we want them to run.

"We'll take a look at their scrum and things like that but at the end of the day, we want to do what we want to do at scrum time."

While Ledesma is no longer part of the Australian setup, Robertson praised the work of forwards coach Simon Cron, who has tweaked the 23-year-old's technique through the preseason.

"From a scrum perspective, in the last two or three months, my technique has changed a lot," he said.

"I think some of the deficiencies that we had at the scrum, Cronno has now fixed.

"He knows a lot about scrums and different techniques and we've been working closely with him on the scrum over the last couple of months."

Having faced two South African sides in the opening fortnight, another test for a lightweight Tahs pack awaits in the Jaguares.

"The Argentinians love their scrums so we're certainly expecting a big battle up front there," Robertson said.

"We have the best backline in the comp so if we can get them the ball, as forwards, they'll do the rest of the damage.

"It's up to us to set the platform this week and we know they're going to come for us in that area."

The Waratahs face the Jaguares on Sunday morning, kicking off at 8:40am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.