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Mario Ledesma named new Argentina rugby coach

Mario Ledesma named new Argentina rugby coach

ALEJANDRO PAGNI

AFP

The former national-team hooker has signed a four-year deal with the Pumas.

Argentina have hired former hooker Mario Ledesma as the new head coach of their national rugby side on a four-year deal, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) announced on Wednesday.

Ledesma, 45, replaces Daniel Hourcade, who resigned last month after a bad spell of results.

Hourcade guided the Pumas to the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-finals in England but, since then, the team have won six Tests and lost 22.

As a hooker, Ledesma played in four World Cups with the Pumas between 1999 and 2011. He has coached French clubs Stade Francais and Montpellier, New South Wales Waratahs and Argentine Super Rugby club Jaguares.

Looking forward to lifting Argentine rugby

Ledesma was presented at a news conference at the UAR headquarters in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

The newly appointed coach said he is looking forward to the challenge of lifting Argentine rugby to their best performance.

"I was fortunate to represent my country many times as a player and now I am proud to be the captain of the ship," Ledesma said.

"I am not intimidated [by the role]. One must be responsible, ready to make sacrifices and to work. We have a huge challenge ahead.

"We want to tend to excellence. Not to the result, but to the processes that lead to them. Our idea is to base ourselves on the work, without taking out a gram of creativity and spontaneity. If we balance that, we'll be fine.

"The expectation is to compete to win all the encounters. To generate competitiveness that allows us to be always in the party."

Ledesma's first games in charge will be in November, when the Pumas visit Ireland, France and Scotland.

He has confirmed that hooker Agustin Creevy will remain as the team's captain.

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