Imagine Rugby Blogs

A controversial genius - David Campese

Love him or hate him, but always admire him

Posted Aug 31, 2010 by Legends

David Campese

Everyone loves an outspoken sportsman, someone who isn't afraid to air their opinion in the public eye and has the ability to back up this quality with class when he steps out into his chosen arena.

And with David Campese, the Australian winger, this is what you got. He was often controversial, and often made mistakes on the pitch, but he was a genius and at times the bad would be forgotten by moments of shear brilliance that left you in awe.

Even his coaches recognised this about him and former Australian rugby coach Alan Jones once said of Campo: "He's probably done one or two bad things and 15 good things." Whilst Nick Farr-Jones added: "He was just one of those instinctive players that just have pure genius."

Campese's propensity to make mistakes often made him a central figure in many controversial moments but his excellence during some of Australian rugby's most vital moments have led to superlatives being launched in his direction, with many claiming that he is the greatest player to have played for the Wallabies and possibly one of the best wingers to have ever graced the hallowed rugby turf throughout the world. He played 101 for Australia after making his debut in 1982 aged 19.

His cocky and forthright nature often led him to bragging about being a millionaire years before the sport became a professional entity.

He peaked during the 1991 rugby World Cup finals where he flew out of the block with two tries against Argentina and then added another in the final group stage encounter against Wales. He added two more against Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

However, the best was yet to come. In the semi-final against New Zealand he scored Australia's opening try and then played in Tim Horan to score the winner using his famous flick pass. He also invented the 'goose-step' - a hitch kick motion that left his opponents stumbling.

He also starred in the final against England. The English dominated long periods and the turning point came when Campese intercepted a pass that had it made its destination and Rory Underwood, would have ended in a try for England. Australia went on to win 12-6.

You either love him or hate him but no-one can deny his ability on a rugby pitch. David Campese - a legend of the rugby world.

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