Wallabies need to call on Ella and Campese’s expertise
Australia's David Campese escapes a tackle. AP Photo/Brian Little
It’s never too late for the Australian Rugby Union to officially appoint Mark Ella and David Campese, the two most attacking Wallabies in history and a sheer delight to watch, as consultants to the men-in-gold.
It would mean Campese relinquishing his expert Roar position he only started yesterday.
But in the best interests of Wallaby rugby, that’s a price Roarers would have to pay.
One of the big problems facing the ARU is the code falling well behind in the entertainment race.
Entertaining in the 21st century is just as important as winning. Winning ugly is counter-productive. It’s entertainment that triggers the turnstiles to click.
And there hasn’t been two better Wallaby exponents than the mercurial fly-half the Fijians call Makella, and the goose-stepping winger Campo.
Yet they have been virtually ignored. What a tragic waste of born talent.
How would they consult?
By being integral members of the Wallaby think-tank headed by coach Robbie Deans, a lateral thinker.
And what a truck load of explosive back-line talent Ella and Campese have to work with – Will Genia, Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale, Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell, Rob Horne, and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
It’s as good as, and potentially better than, the mighty 1984 Grand Slammers – Nick Farr-Jones, Ella, Michael Lynagh, Andy Slack, Campese, Brendan Moon, Peter Grigg, and Roger Gould.
The key to current success rests right there – Ella and Campese.
Both were naturally-gifted, but allowed a free rein by the likes of the then coaches Alan Jones and Bob Dwyer.
That’s where Deans surfaces. Deep down he would love to play running rugby, like the November 2010 clash with Five-Nations champions France at State de France, pouring on six brilliant and unanswered second half tries to win 59-16 going away.
But there have been far too many bad backline days, like the 35-18 loss to England and 32-23 loss to Samoa last year, or the 15-6 loss to Ireland at the RWC, forcing Deans into safety mode.
Ella and Campese aren’t miracle workers, but they have been there, done that with Bledisloe Cup success, and the one-and-only coveted Slam.
What they would achieve is stability, and the confidence that goes with it.
There’s no reason why the Wallabies shouldn’t be the number one ranked nation in the world.
The odds of achieving that goal would be a lot shorter if Mark Ella and David Campese were at the coal-face, instead of writing about it.