Campese slams new generation
May 12, 2012
David Campese scored 64 tries in 101 Test appearances for the Wallabies © Getty Images
Wallabies legend David Campese has launched a scathing attack on modern rugby players by insisting that his generation would have "run rings around them".
The outspoken former winger, who notched an outstanding 64 tries in 101 Test appearances for Australia, has gone on the offensive with Australia's five Super Rugby franchises struggling to make an impression on the competition and ahead of the Wallabies three-Test series with Wales next month.
"In reality, I think more than half of today's players wouldn't have cut it in my era," Campese wrote in his column for TheRoar.com.au. "Sure, the players today are faster and stronger, but they're no way near as skilful.
"Think about the great teams I played with. We played like a team. And we played because we enjoyed it. These days, players don't know how to play as part of a team. All they think about is themselves.
"So to all you critics who think that the modern players have it over players from my era, let me tell you this: Players from my generation would have run rings around them."
Campese also slammed what he sees as a lack of invention in the modern game - citing the Western Force's failure to utilise the talents of Fijian wing Napolioni Nalaga. "When we played we played attacking rugby and we believed in the way we played," he said. "The way in which the modern game is played can be seen in the lack of opportunities that Western Force's wonderful Fijian winger, Napolioni Nalaga, got.
"I coached him in Fiji last year. What a great player. But watching him now, he is just another winger who never gets the ball to show what he can do. Why?
"In fact, can someone explain to me why we even have wingers these days? You never see them in the back-line. Really, I can't think of too many of today's players who would oust the guys from some of the great teams over the years. All you need to do now is run straight, don't pass, and tackle well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter