Argentina coach’s classy call after record defeat

Mario Ledesma has resigned as coach of the Argentine rugby team, saying a run of poor results meant it was time for change.

“Taking this decision is difficult, who wants step way from all this? Nobody,” Ledesma told reporters. “But if you put the team first and you are sufficiently humble then that’s what you have to do.”

The 48-year-old former hooker with French club Clermont Auvergne took over as head coach in August 2018, winning eight, drawing three and losing 22 of his games in charge.

The 53-7 defeat by Ireland in November was his heaviest as coach and the eighth defeat in nine games, a run that led to calls for his departure.

However, those recent results obscured some significant triumphs. Under Ledesma, the Pumas beat the All Blacks for the first time and recorded their first win over the Wallabies since 1983.

“We’ve always seen a progression and an improvement and we didn’t see that last year,” Ledesma said of a year in which the team won only three of their 12 games.

“Now is the time to be thankful, to see what we managed to do. Obviously, mistakes were made along the way and there were things that could have been done better but it is time for a new cycle.”

Although a new coach has not been named, he will have time to prepare.

Argentina’s next games come in July, at home to a touring Scotland, before a Rugby Championship that includes two homes games v Australia and another against South Africa.


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