Campo: Now or never for Wales

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

IF Wales don’t beat the Wallabies this autumn they never will according to Australia rugby legend David Campese.

One of the game’s all-time greats says Wales must also start finding the mental strength to start taking southern hemisphere scalps.

And the 1991 World Cup-winning wing, who scored 64 tries in 101 caps, has also launched a withering attack on his own country’s current side, labelling a recent performance as “absolute cr**.”

‘Campo’ too lamented the state of the modern game and slammed ‘self-important’ top class referees.

The Wallabies arrive in Europe next month with a much depleted squad to face France, England, Italy and finally Wales on Saturday, December 1. They will be without playmakers Will Genia and James O’Connor while stars like David Pocock, James Horwill, Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes are doubts.

Campese, who now lives in South Africa where he coaches young players and has a rugby academy in Hong Kong, says it’s now or never for Wales who haven’t beaten Australia in seven attempts.

“If you can’t beat them this autumn, you might as well give it up.

“You’ve already had five chances to do it in the last year.

“Wales need to start believing in themselves.”

Campese added: “When Wales play New Zealand they seem to play with an intensity that’s lacking when they take on South Africa and Australia.

“They need to show that same intensity and self-belief before they start beating the top teams.

“The southern hemisphere come over in the autumn at the end of their season so Wales should be fresher when playing them.”

Referring to Wales’ knack of just failing to put southern hemisphere teams away and the pivotal World Cup semi-final against France last autumn when they lost 9-8 despite outplaying France with 14 men for most of the game, Campese said: “It always seems that they do something really silly in the last 10 to 15 minutes.

“In that World Cup semi-final, they got their captain (Sam Warburton) sent off in the first 20 minutes and then they missed five shots at goal.” Campese slams modern rugby as ‘boring’, saying: “I stopped watching the Argentina v Australia game a few weeks back because it was absolute cr**.

“(Wallabies centre) Pat McCabe can’t pass from left to right – the guy’s useless. In the modern game, you’ve just got to be big and strong.

“Rugby is a very simple game. New Zealand are so good because they do the simple things right.

“They see what is in front of them and play off it – they put the ball into space.”

On referees, he said: “The referee can give 10 penalties away at the breakdown and they think the game is all about them.

“Refs can win or lose a game for you because of one stupid decision.”

l David Campese was talking at a Heineken-sponsored event held at the Newbridge Hotel.

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