Rugby
AAP 13d

Wallabies legend David Campese not giving up on Wallabies

Rugby legend David Campese has made the bold claim that the Wallabies can rebound from their worst Test campaign in 60 years and win the 2019 World Cup.

Never predictable and always willing to back himself, Campese's latest declaration would seem a leap of faith too far after Australia's horror run of just four wins from 13 starts this year.

Only the most diehard of Wallabies fans still believe.

And Campese, the 1991 World Cup winner who, while lamenting the Wallabies' clumsy attack, maintains under-fire coach Michael Cheika can pull off a miracle.

"We're always dangerous at the World Cup," Campese said.

"And the World Cup's now a bash-fest. You don't play your best rugby; it's a bash-fest.

"If you've got the players to last six games, you've got a very good chance of winning it."

This is one reason why Campese believes the Wallabies have suffered short-term pain for what he hopes proves long-term gain.

Cheika's seemingly erratic selections have bewildered fans and critics but the 2015 world coach of the year's blooding of 35 Test newcomers since the last global showpiece has been a necessary evil, according to Campese.

"I just think they've got a plan," the wing great said.

"If you think about the old days, what was good was you'd play a three-Test series at home.

"At the end of the year you'd go play another three Tests (on tour), but you'd take all the young guys.

"You'd play mid-week games with all the (young) guys and a Test match (on Saturday) and if they were good enough, they'd make it.

"Now, you haven't got time to blood all the young guys.

"That's why I think he's struggled because you've got to try and give these guys game time. When can they actually play?"

Campese noted that on Australia's famous 1984 grand slam-winning tour, the Wallabies played 18 games, something that would never happen now.

"Every Wednesday we played a mid-week game. You could work your way into the Test team by performing," he said.

"Now you might get one chance at home. If you play one bad game, you're on the burner again.

"There's a lot more pressure now."

Campese said fans also needed to acknowledge Cheika's rebuilding came during a brutal 2018 Test program that included three Tests against the world champion All Blacks, three against the second-ranked Irish, two against the resurgent Springboks plus tough away games in Argentina, Wales and England.

"It's not an easy situation to be in," he said.

Campese believes the World Cup in many ways will be much easier.

He predicts the Wallabies will emerge top of their pool that features Wales, Fiji, Uruguay and Georgia.

If Campese is right, the Wallabies will likely face France or Argentina in the quarter-finals for a probable last-four shot at either Ireland or South Africa, with a repeat of the 2015 final against New Zealand not out of the realms of possibility.

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