Los Jaguares are closing in on Mario Ledesma. According to Diario Olé, the former Pumas hooker will replace Raúl Pérez as Head Coach of the Argentine Super Rugby side. The UAR is to make an official announcement following the Rugby Championship in October.
As a player Mario Ledesma had a highly successful career. From 2001-2011 he played in France, doing so for Narbonne, Castres and Clermont. He was at Clermont from 2005-2011 and would win the Top 14 title with the club in 2010.
His retirement from Rugby came at Rugby World Cup 2011. He made his final appearance in the Quarter Finals defeat against New Zealand. In the match he earned his 84th cap. It was his third appearance in a Rugby World Cup Quarter Final. In 2007 he won Bronze with Los Pumas.
In his post playing days Ledesma has been a coach. He began at Stade Français as forwards coach in 2011-2012. From there he went on to coach for two years at Montpellier before moving south. In 2015 he signed as Coach-observer for the Waratahs and later that year joined the Wallabies as Forwards Coach.
Ledesma remains contracted to the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) until 2019. Speculation last month that he would be breaking contract to join Los Jaguares were denied by Ledesma. The Diario Olé, though, notes that following Raúl Pérez’ confirmation that he is standing down the Curupaytí club product has agreed to take charge.
Ledesma’s position will remain undisclosed until the completion of the Southern Hemisphere season. The announcement in late October has, according to the Diario Olé, been official off the record for a month. The publication notes that Pérez knew he would be gone and that the management denied it.
Due to contractual terms Ledesma is unable to confirm leaving the ARU. He is, however, understood to have not only accepted his return to Buenos Aires but to also having identified his coaching staff. Of the Pérez administration Martín Gaitán will be retained. But both José Pellicena and Fernando Guatieri are to be replaced.
The Diario Olé notes that Ledesma has named his Rugby World Cup 1999, 2003 and 2007 teammates Felipe Contepomi and Nacho Fernández Lobbe to be on his team. Gaitán, also of 2003, will join them.
The entire coaching staff would be made up of not only former Pumas but men who had noteworthy professional careers abroad. Contepomi played in England, Ireland and France from 2000-2013, Fernández Lobbe played in England and France from 2000-2011 while Gaitán was in France from 2002-2007.