Campese calls for Deans to be axed
November 15, 2012
David Campese has hit out at Wallabies coach Robbie Deans © Getty Images
Campese, who retired from Test rugby in 1996 after an international career that saw him score 64 tries in 101 matches, is a long-time critic of Deans and his side's style of play with his latest attack coming in the wake of their heavy defeat to France last weekend and on the eve of their Cook Cup showdown with England at Twickenham on Saturday.
"Deans has destroyed Australian rugby and I want him to go, " Campese told The Daily Telegraph. "We've got a team at the moment that can't catch and can't pass. Wallaby teams in the past were never like this. Anyone who knows anything about Australian rugby knows what it's famous for - loops, angles, switches, counter-attack, creative play. Where's all that gone? We can't ever pass properly."
Campese also hinted that he may be prepared to see the side lose against England if it meant Deans was shown the door by the Australian Rugby Union. "Mate, I don't want the boys to lose. I played for Australia and it's clearly hard to go against them, especially when it's against the Poms. But if Australia win, Deans stays. I just want him to go. He's the worst thing that has ever happened to Australian rugby."
The Wallabies set-up has also come in for criticism from Quade Cooper, who labelled the environment "toxic", and while Campese does not agree with Cooper venting his frustrations in public, he does fear for the current outlook in the camp.
"Just look at the body language of the players," Campese said. "It's terrible. They're not having fun, not enjoying themselves at all. There are lots of problems within the team. Compare that to the All Blacks. They play like Australia used to do. They play as a team. It's effective and it's entertaining. You've got to go out and get people to want to come and watch you play, especially in Australia where there's lots of other sports competing for your attention.
"Ain't happening with us, mate. The skill factor is so poor at the moment. Look at Pat McCabe in the centre. He's not a good passer and he's tipped to be the next Wallaby captain."
However, another former Wallabies star and team-mate of Campese still has faith in Deans. Michael Lynagh, who won 72 caps and the World Cup during an 11-year Test career, pointed to the injury toll that Deans has had to contend. "We do miss Pocock, Will Genia and James Horwill because they are all Wallaby captains and you need that kind of experience at Test level," he told the Evening Standard.
"Nathan Sharpe is doing a great job as skipper but we are also without Quade Cooper and James O'Connor, while Digby Ioane is only now returning from injury. Any team would suffer without that kind of talent pool. It would be great to have a few other attacking weapons around to take the heat off Kurtley Beale. I do believe Deans is a good coach and he hasn't turned into a bad one overnight."
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