David Campese says Wallabies need to reinvent themselves to win Bledisloe Cup from All Blacks
10 August, 2018, 3:23 pm
SYDNEY,10 AUGUST 2018 (STUFF NZ) – Australian rugby great David Campese says the Wallabies need to reinvent themselves and can’t have their style of play dictated to them by the All Blacks.
With the opening Bledisloe Cup test just a week away, the always thoughtful Campese had some interesting views on the looming Sydney match and the worrying state of Australian rugby in general when he joined Fox Sports’ rugby podcast.
Campese, who was part of a golden era of Wallabies rugby that saw them enjoy regular wins over the All Blacks, including their crowning glory at the 1991 World Cup, hoped the current side could learn a thing or two from the great teams he was part of.
David Campese is concerned that the Wallabies have become too reliant on the sole attacking skills of Kurtley Beale and need to present more dangers.
He feels the Wallabies have become too reliant on the sole attacking play of Kurtley Beale and teams were able to shut them down simply by concentrating on him.
“If you have five or six dangerous players, the opposition have to watch six dangerous players, not one,” Campese said.
“I played in teams with Farr-Jones, Ella, Lynagh, Slack, Gould, Horan, Little … we had five or six dangerous players. We caused havoc, that’s the way we played.
“We have gone away from that. Now there’s a lot of hit-ups … we can’t play the style of rugby the All Blacks want us to play now, we have got to reinvent ourselves.”
Campese felt current Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was trying to encourage that but he was hampered by a lack of experienced heads in his squad.
It was reflective of the current Australian rugby scene and he looked with envy at New Zealand where rugby remained “a religion”.
“They (New Zealand) have a great culture and that’s the other thing we have to look at – we have lost our culture.
“Why do we play for the Wallabies? I bet if you asked 95 per cent of the Wallabies who play now, when was the first test between Australia and NZ?, I bet you they can’t tell you.”
He felt young Australian players were missing elder statesmen and role models and were allowed “to get away with stuff they shouldn’t”.
Campese, now back in Australia after several years in South Africa, laughed off the early gamesmanship from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who has installed the Wallabies favourites on the back of their Brisbane win late last year.
“You can’t worry about what people say,” Campese said, urging the Wallabies to turn a deaf ear to Hansen and to play with intelligence, especially in the kicking department.
“They (the All Blacks) are the best team in the world for a reason. We have to be smarter – don’t give them the ball, that’s a very simple thing. If we are going to kick, then kick where it’s a 50-50 kick. Kick it where we can get it back, don’t just kick it away for the sake of kicking it away.”
Campese was encouraged by some of the fresh talent coming through and felt the Wallabies had a real chance of ending their long Bledisloe Cup drought if they could pick up from their last effort against the All Blacks and win the opener in Sydney.
He still treasured his wins against New Zealand.
“You know you’ve worked hard when you’ve beaten the All Blacks and you deserve to beat them,” Campese told Fox Sports’ rugby podcast.
“I just hope these guys just start believing themselves. Look, there are 15 guys against 15, just work as a team, keep the mistakes down and just believe in your ability.”