Mario Ledesma is officially now the new Head Coach of Los Jaguares. The legendary Argentine hooker takes over from Raúl Pérez who was in charge for the 2016 and 2017 season. He does so in a two-year-deal.
The 44-year-old Ledesma takes on the role after a highly successful period coaching the Wallabies forwards. Under Ledesma the Australian scrum improved out of sight. He helped Australia to the 2015 Rugby Championship title, the only time New Zealand has not won since it began in 2012.
Prior to coaching the Wallabies, Ledesma also worked with Super Rugby side the Waratahs. His career, though, began in France. He coached at both Stade Français and Montpellier following his amazing playing career at Narbonne, Castres and Clermont. For Ledesma, though, it all began at Curupaytí club in Buenos Aires.
He returns home after more than sixteen years abroad. At the Press Conference he noted:
“In my head I always wanted to to come back to coach in Argentina. My heart told me that I had to come back.”
As a player, Ledesma appeared in four Rugby World Cups. This included winning Bronze at Rugby World Cup 2007. He also won the Top 14 with Clermont and appeared in numerous finals.
Ledesma is to be joined by Rugby World Cup 2003 teammates at Los Jaguares. His assistants will be former Pumas scrum-half Nicolás Fernández Miranda and outside center Martin Gaitán. Combined the trio is vastly different than that of the Pérez or Daniel Hourcade regime.
Fernández Miranda is going straight from the amateur game at Hindú to Los Jaguares. Ledesma is coming from the outside, doing so with the perfect balance of France and Australia. Gaitán, meanwhile, is from the UAR itself. All three world’s are catered for as the new regime literally covers all bases.
Looking ahead to the challenge of Los Jaguares Ledesma said:
“Today I feel far more secure as a coach, and much more as a person”.