Campese snubbed by Wallabies

It has emerged that last week Australian rugby legend David Campese was snubbed by the current crop of Wallabies when they rejected him to hand out their jerseys in what is traditional ceremony before every Test.

Most international sides give a former player the honour of handing out the Test jersey, in what is an important feature for any side in the build-up to an important Test match.

Before last weekend’s match between the Wallabies and the Springboks, Carel du Plessis, the South African ‘Prince of Wings’, was asked by the Boks to hand out their jerseys and accompany the ceremony with a few wise words of his own.

But when the Australian players saw Campese’s name on a shortlist to conduct their ceremony, he was quickly rejected by the players who have felt the sting by Campese’s criticism of the Wallaby national set-up since he hung up his boots.

Former Springbok and Wallaby Tiaan Strauss was then asked to hand out the jerseys, but he declined, stating that accepting the role would leave him in an awkward position.

Coach John Connolly later took the honours upon himself.

Campese shook off the snub this week.

“I would have been in an absolute state of shock if they had asked me to present the jumper,” Campese told Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph from South Africa.

“So no, it doesn’t upset me at all. I’m past that.

“I’m a columnist now and I’m allowed to give my point of view. Some people just don’t seem to like that.

“And if they want me to write nice and cuddly things about them when it’s simply not justified, then they’re talking to the wrong guy.”
Campese believes that the modern player “does not like criticism”.

“So you’ve got to be nice, like Phil Kearns is on TV about his good mate George Gregan every week.

“I think if you’ve got a strong point of view you voice it. I don’t whisper behind people’s backs. I say what I think and people know where I stand.

“What do they want me to write – that the Wallabies are great every week, they’re fantastic and they’re always playing great rugby? You’d only be kidding yourself to do that.

“Take a look at the record and tell me if I’ve been too harsh in recent seasons.

“The Wallabies have played 15 games away from home over the past five years against New Zealand, South Africa and France, and they have not won one of them. Not one.

“How do I make that look better?

“They haven’t beaten South Africa in South Africa since 2000.

“Am I supposed to be saying how good that is? These days no one seems to do anything wrong yet the results are not what you’d call sensational.”

Campese lives in Durban with his South African wife where he works as consultant for the Sharks rugby team.

“It’s interesting that people here do seem interested in my views,” he said.

“And at the moment I’m doing things I want to do with my life. I’ve got a beautiful wife, two great kids, and I’m enjoying my time in South Africa.

“Why should I worry? Life’s too short.”

It is Campese’s criticism of George Gregan that is most probably the cause of the snub.

“Is that bad?” asked Campese.

“Gregan has not shown great form over the last couple of years and if the last two coaches are honest they would admit that. Why else was Matt Giteau being looked at as a scrum-half?

“What am I supposed to do? Ignore what I’m seeing?

“You’re dreaming if you say Gregan’s played well over the last couple of years leading into this season.

“This year he’s back to playing his best, and I wonder if it’s because he got a jolt, realising his job might be on the line.

“But were they listening when I said on TV, before the Test, that Australia would give the Boks a run for their money?” Campese said.

 

365 Digital

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