Rugby World Cup: Lack of leadership hurt Aussies - Campese

Anthony Fainga'a and James O'Connor walk off the ground after Australia's loss to Ireland. Photo / Getty Images
Anthony Fainga'a and James O'Connor walk off the ground after Australia's loss to Ireland. Photo / Getty Images

Former Wallabies captain David Campese has blamed a lack of leadership and teamwork for Australia's 15-6 loss to Ireland in their Rugby World Cup match on Saturday.

Campese, speaking to Radio Sport, was particularly unimpressed with the performance of first five-eighth Quade Cooper.

"They thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was. Quade Cooper, I don't know. I don't know what he's doing - every time he got [the ball] the crowd booed him. These flick passes, they work for Sonny Bill Williams, but it doesn't work for certain people.

"Under pressure, you want people in positions that can control the game and be smart about it. These guys weren't smart at all."

Campese was renowned for his silky skills and an ability to provide an extra spark for the Wallabies. Quade Cooper's unpredictable brilliance may thrill the crowds, but Campese said that individuality could be the downfall of the team.

"People have got to realise that I was a winger, so I was the last man on the line to try things.

"He's a playmaker so he's getting the ball all the time. I don't think he understands the position sometimes, he thinks he can do a lot of things and he's got to realise a number 10 normally is the big go-to man.

"When you're under pressure you get the ball and kick it down touch like Dan Carter does. On the weekend I was watching and Cooper got the ball and just wanted to try everything himself. You can't win a World Cup if you play like individuals, you've got to play as a team. Unfortunately the Wallabies on Saturday didn't look like a team," he told Radio Sport.

The former captain was disappointed with a lack of clear leadership within the side and cited former Wallabies Nick Farr-Jones and Michael Lynagh as examples of players who could take responsibility and calm the team down.

"There was no authority out there [against Ireland]. Everyone was looking for someone to have a word to. Unforunately in the backline we've got 22 and 23 year olds. You look at O'Driscoll and D'Arcy at 30 and 31. The Irish played very well, they played smart football in the conditions."

He also rubbished suggestions that the Wallabies would need to temper their gameplan to suit difficult conditions in New Zealand.

"You've got a Kiwi coach, Robbie Deans, coaching them - so he should know what the weather's like! He should understand the conditions and the way it's played. And that was his 50th game for Australia, so it's not going to be a memorable day for him.

"The players obviously aren't listening, or he's not giving them the right advice."

Deans now has an unenviable win-loss record (28 wins, 21 losses, and one draw), including losses to Samoa, Scotland, and Ireland. Campese admitted that Deans took a couple of years to settle in Australia, but is worried about his current contract situation.

"I suppose the unfortunate thing for the Wallabies is we've got him until 2013. [ARU boss] John O'Neill in his wisdom signed him up, so what happens if we go out in the quarter-finals? We're stuck with the guy for another couple of years."

- Herald Online

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Sep 2014 22:12:46 Processing Time: 559ms