Sio says Wallabies will build on Ledesma's scrum skills

Wallabies prop Scott Sio says the passion of recently departed scrum coach Mario Ledesma has rubbed off on Australian players as they look to once again get on top of Wales like they have done so often in recent years.

Ledesma finished with the Wallabies during the final Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane last month after coming on board in 2015 before the World Cup.

The former Argentinian hooker told players and staff in the aftermath of Australia's win in Mendoza in October he had signed a deal to take over as Jaguares coach for the 2018 Super Rugby season.

His enthusiasm for scrummaging is infectious and it has not been lost on Wallabies players such as Sio who say it is imperative they continue to use the knowledge and ideas Ledesma has imparted on them.

"He's laid a great foundation for us that I think we can keep building on," Sio said. "I guess not having him here it has put a lot of focus on the players to step up and really demand a lot from each other at the set-piece.

"We've definitely lost his presence but I think a lot of the passion has rubbed off on the players."

Michael Cheika said before the tour he would adopt a more hands-on approach with the forwards now Ledesma has departed and Sio believes things are going to plan ahead of the weekend's match with Wales.

"It's been a smooth transition ??? and [with] players helping as well," Sio said. "[Cheika is] not necessarily barking orders but doing a good job sharing the work with Mick [Byrne] and just taking the meetings when they come and stepping in at training sessions."

On paper, Wales have struggled against the Wallabies over the last decade.

A run of 12 consecutive losses to Australia since 2009 does not make for pretty reading and even though the most recent defeat was a 32-8 result last year, the 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match still haunts Wales.

After throwing everything they had at the Wallabies in a tense second half, Wales were unable to penetrate Australia's defence in a famous match that will be remembered for many years.

Sio featured in the 15-6 victory and refuted the suggestion recent results would give the Wallabies a leg-up when the sides meet at Principality Stadium on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

"Our matches are quite close and competitive and I don't see [Saturday] being any different," Sio said. "If you see the last few matches, they could have gone either way. I was part of 2015 World Cup game and if Wales had scored that outcome might have been different.

"I think anytime you play at home you do [have fire in the belly]. You always want to do your country and fans proud. They will definitely be up for it."

The Wallabies are targeting wins in their next three games, which would see them become the first Australian team since 1996 - outside of a World Cup year - to come away from a four or more Test spring tour undefeated.

Sio said a condensed tour would be easier on the body compared to last year's bruising five-week schedule.

"Five weeks on the road last year was pretty tough and you saw it in the back end of the tour," Sio said. "We've learnt from that and we've had great planning around it with S&C [strength and conditioning] coaches and medical staff. The boys are in good nick."

This story Sio says Wallabies will build on Ledesma's scrum skills first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.