Jock Campbell says he has no one to blame but himself for failing to make the cut for the Wallabies World Cup campaign as he prepares to please two new coaches in 2024.
The Queensland Reds fullback was clearly not to the taste of Eddie Jones after being in an out of contention for the Wallabies under Dave Rennie.
Of course Campbell wasn’t the only one rejected by Jones in his head-scratching return to Australian rugby that resulted in two wins against Georgia and Portugal and seven defeats in his tempestuous reign.
“Obviously you want to play so when you’re not selected it’s difficult, but then you’ve got to look at your own form,” Campbell said.
“Did I do everything. Was I making myself selectable? Was I really myself out there? I’ve got to look at that before any blame. There was a lot happening last year but I can’t control that. I’ve got to try and get better.”
Instead of joining the squad in St Etienne, Campbell had to watch the disaster unfold from the couch at home.
“Everyone will say it was tough to watch. I felt for my mates and the guys in the squad because I know they’d be going through hell being over there and hearing the media,” Campbell said.
“In my conversations with them I was just trying to pick them up and say ‘keep going’ because I know that they worked their absolute tails off. They didn’t get the results, didn’t go well but they felt it more than most fans. It would have been a tough time.”
Campbell says Queensland Reds training in the lead up to the Christmas break has hinted at the style that Les Kiss wants to bring to the team as he succeeds Brad Thorn.
“He described the game he wants to play and to play that game, there will probably have to be a lot of running. So you have that expectation,” said Campbell.
“A lot of work rate. Working hard to create overlaps, so the running capacity for us backs is going to have to increase, which is good. I think it’s good and suits our team. We’ve got to put in the hard work now and hopefully, we can maintain that load throughout the year.”
One difference he noted between Thorn and Kiss was that Kiss liked to do his gym workouts when few others were around – unlike Thorn who remained one of the club’s biggest lifters up until his departure.
As for himself, he wants to please himself first and hope the gains follow from there.
“If you can play a season and you can look yourself in the mirror and say I did everything I can you can go to bed happy,” Campbell said.
“If you look back on a year and go I could have done this or that you will have some regrets. I go with that mindset into every year and I assume a lot of the boys do as well.”