Campo chats to Sport24

Cape Town - Australian 101-Test and 1991 Rugby World Cup-winning legend, David Campese, chats exclusively to Sport24 ahead of the Rugby Championship clash between the Wallabies and Springboks in Brisbane.

Sport24: Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has opted for Zane Kirchner at fullback ahead of Willie le Roux. Your reaction?

David Campese:
I find that selection strange to be honest because this week Meyer has been quoted as saying how much he loves watching (Wallaby fullback) Israel Folau play and just how good he is. Why would he say that about the opposition’s fullback when he doesn’t back the equally dangerous Willie le Roux to continue in the No 15 jumper?

Sport24: Is it fair to say that the current system the Springboks employ doesn’t suit Le Roux’s style of play?

David Campese: Le Roux is a great player, but as a former fullback and wing myself, if your team-mates don’t understand what you are capable of doing on attack, then as an individual you are likely to struggle. This proved the case in Mendoza, where Le Roux saw very little of the ball. Having been selected on the wing for Saturday’s Test, he may be even less effective offensively.

Sport24: Are the majority of South African sides too conservative on attack?

David Campese:
Yes. I have noticed that South African sides predominantly play the same style of rugby, with the ball rarely travelling wide to the wings in space. However, this has become a trend throughout the game. During my playing days, the outside centre was the link between the back three, but now the No 13 is just a runner, which means the wings don’t often see much ball. You will find that wings who possess a high work-rate will go looking for the ball off a ruck or inside 10.

Sport24: Is the aimless kicking which has entered the game also a point of frustration for you?

David Campese:
Statistics show that the team which kicks more and gives away more penalties actually wins games. This is a pretty scary statistic. I believe the game of rugby should be about the ball, scoring tries and entertaining the fans. In the modern game, many teams kick just for the sake of it. For example, a team defends for 20 phases and then what do they do? Kick the ball back to the opposition! This shows that there is no real thought going into the game.

Sport24: Meyer has retained scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar in his starting XV. Do you share the view his service from the base is too slow?

David Campese:
Pienaar has been criticised for his slow service, but the bottom line is that it’s up to the forwards to present good, clean ball. If they fail to do their job effectively then the No 9 is naturally on the back foot. In my view, Pienaar remains one of the top three halfbacks in world rugby. I must stress that selecting your No 9 depends on what combinations and confidence a team has. At 10, I have to question the continued selection of Morne Steyn. Will Steyn go to the next Rugby World Cup? Probably not. I believe Pat Lambie deserves more game time... Steyn is obviously the safe option.

Sport24: It’s no secret you weren’t a fan of former Wallaby coach Robbie Deans. Do you expect new coach Ewen McKenzie to introduce more attacking flair?

David Campese:
I think he already has. He understands the Australian way and the players seem happier. Deans attempted to adopt a New Zealand style of play, which simply didn’t work for the Wallabies. While Australia are feeling the heat following back-to-back defeats, one must take into account that those losses were against the best side in world rugby. Had Australia played either Argentina or South Africa in their first two matches, I believe the log would have a very different look to it.

Sport24: What do you make of the statistic which shows that the Springboks have never won at Suncorp Stadium?

David Campese:
At the end of the day, the game is played between four white lines with goal posts at either end. Wherever you go in the world, it’s exactly the same. Finding it challenging to win away for home is purely down to one’s mindset. Yes, it’s comforting to play in front of your home fans, but during my career, I never thought too much about the crowd’s influence.

Sport24: How do you see Saturday’s Test match playing out? Are the Wallabies under more pressure to win than the Boks?

David Campese:
No, I think both sides are under an equal amount of pressure. The margins are slim in Test match rugby and if a team fails to turn up they lose - it’s as simple as that. While the Wallabies and Boks are quite evenly matched, I believe Australia will win by 10 points as their backline offers more of a threat on attack.
Wallabies to win their first match? Boks to continue their winning run? How do you see Saturday's Test in Brisbane panning out? Send your thoughts to Sport24.
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