Australia have a long history of being pushed around the park by their most prominent Pool A rivals, England and Wales.
England’s forwards notably got the better of them in their most recent encounter, a 26-17 defeat last year, while the Australian eight also conceded a penalty try at the scrum during the Wallabies’ 33-28 win over Wales last autumn.
One of head coach Michael Cheika’s first appointments since taking over the Australians last year came in July when Ledesma was named forwards coach.
The influence of former Pumas prop Ledesma, one of the most destructive scrummagers in world rugby during his playing days, was evident during Australia’s convincing 47-10 win over the United States, their last game before the World Cup after winning the Rugby Championship.
“Mario’s really passionate about scrums and it’s good to have someone who has a real identity of how he wants to shape the scrum how he wants the scrum to move forward,” Wallaby flank and vice-captain Michael Hooper said.
“He’s a great personality, a new face, a new accent in the group. He’s a great addition to the team.”
Scott Sio, who will start loosehead for the Wallabies against Fiji, was full of praise for the Argentine scrum guru.
“He has brought a great scrum philosophy to the team and the main thing is that everyone has brought into it as a big playing group and a collective,” Sio said.
“It’s an area that everyone has targeted for a few years now, so we knew we had to combine together to make it a strength of the team. It is steadily improving.”
Hooper, who starts at openside in a strong back row also featuring ball-hunting David Pocock, added: “We’ve a had a lot of tough games scrummaging-wise going through the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe so it’s been a great prep for us, some of the hardest scrum sessions we’ve had against each other.
“We’re building a lot of confidence there and we got a lot of confidence out of the Rugby Championship with the guys this year and as a pack they’re really developing well.
“Obviously it’s going to be a big part of the competition and we’re excited about that challenge.”
Fiji coach John McKee was under no illusions that his Pacific island team, who went down 35-11 to England in the tournament opener last Friday, would be tested.
“I know the Wallabies have improved their scrummaging, as we have over time,” McKee said.
Turning to his combination with Pocock, just the second time the pair have started together – the first coming in that Rugby Championship victory over the All Blacks, Hooper said: “I’m looking forward to running around with Dave and all the rest of the guys.
“[The dynamic with Pocock] has developed pretty naturally, we had nothing to go off previously, except a couple off the bench working together.
“It was pretty good and worked nicely and I am looking forward to getting more time out on the field to develop the roles further.”
Hooper admitted that the team were itching to get going after watching all their Pool A rivals get under way.
“It feels like we’ve been training for a long time, with a little game in between, which was a good result for us, something to work off going into the first couple of games,” he said.
“As a group and me personally we can’t wait until tomorrow [Wednesday].”
Agence France-Presse