Ledesma taking Wallabies lessons into Pumas role

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

Three years with the Wallabies is helping Mario Ledesma transform the Pumas into a more disciplined and, ultimately, better team.

Argentina coach Ledesma faces his stiffest test since taking charge last month when they play the red hot All Blacks in Nelson on Saturday.

The South Americans are coming off a rousing win over South Africa in Mendoza two weeks ago, having opened the Rugby Championship with a loss to the Springboks in Durban.

The former long-serving Pumas hooker has set about implementing a more structured style to a team he believes had focused too much on skills and not enough on fundamentals in recent times.

They won just two of their last 18 Tests under predecessor Daniel Hourcade, slipping to ninth in the world rankings.

Signed to a four-year contract, Ledesma wants to build from the base up, determined to restore defensive fundamentals and a reputation for power scrummaging that has been lost.

Mario Ledesma is grateful to Australian rugby. Photo: ARU MediaAs forwards coach for Michael Cheika's Wallabies from 2015-17, Ledesma absorbed the importance of working within a structure.

"One of the biggest things I got from Australia is respecting the processes, having a plan and be more disciplined," he said.

"And player management from Michael Cheika was a big thing for me.

"(In Argentina) we're a little bit more passionate but the bad side for that is we're not used to respecting systems and everything changes from one week to another."

Ledesma says the key to recording a first-ever win over the All Blacks will be sticking with them throughout the contest, particularly during the second half, when the hosts were so potent in twin thrashings of Australia last month.

The seven starting changes made by counterpart Steve Hansen will make little difference to New Zealand's standards, Ledesma said.

"The All Blacks get better every week and it doesn't matter who they put on the field.

"We want to compete for every ball and challenge them in every way possible and stay in the game for the whole game.

"You think you're in the game until the 50th, the 55th minute and then you're gone, they rip you apart."

The All Blacks host the Pumas on Saturday September 8, kicking off at 5;35pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.