Rugby great David Campese is imploring the Wallabies to break the shackles in pursuit of a hoodoo-busting Bledisloe Cup series triumph over the All Blacks.
Tired of New Zealand’s 15-year stranglehold on the coveted trophy, Campese wants the Wallabies to “play Australian rugby” the way he and the legendary Ella brothers did so brilliantly in the 1980s.
The 1991 World Cup winner would even like to see Michael Cheika bring enigmatic playmaker Quade Cooper back in from the cold after the 70-Test star was exiled by Queensland’s first-year Super Rugby coach, Brad Thorn.
But with or without Cooper, Campese is urging the Wallabies to chance their arm in 2018 in a bid to not only maximise the attacking potential of Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau but also restore pride in the gold jumper.
“We are a flair country, with the Ellas. That’s how it started so that’s what we’ve enjoyed,” the iconic winger told AAP.
“That’s why it’s a shame about Quade. I know there’s a lot of things about Quade (holding him back) but he is a flair player. Kurtley’s a flair player. Izzy’s a finisher.
“So the more flair players we’ve got, the more guys like Izzy, the outside guys, will get opportunities to score more tries.
“If you look every time Kurtley plays, and Izzy, the opposition aren’t sure who’s going to do what.
“The more dangerous players you’ve got in the backline, the more pressure the opposition is under.
“That’s what we’ve got to do.”
Campese said it was an honour playing alongside attacking marvels such as Mark, Gary and Glen Ella, Lloyd Walker and Andrew Slack after growing up idolising Russell Fairfax, Lloyd McDermott and schoolboy stars Wally Lewis and Michael O’Connor.
He laments the demise of the glory days of running rugby.
“That’s what we used to do. I know people say I live in dark times but that’s when I was born,” Campese said.
“I had the Ellas, (Simon) Poidevin, Brendan Moon, Andrew Slack. That was unbelievable.
“There’s no reason we can’t do it (now). We’ve just got to back ourselves.
“But the coaches have got to allow the players to try things … that’s why we play the game.
“And I think that’s what the crowd expects – and wants. They want to see us play Australian rugby, not like what everyone else plays.”
Campese believes Australia should already hold the Bledisloe Cup after winning last year’s third Test following a last-minute loss in game two in New Zealand.
“It was disappointing but obviously the fightback was great,” he said.
“The players have got to start to believe and stand up and say: ‘Right, that’s it. We’ve had enough of this losing, we’ve had enough’, and start believing.
“Once you believe you can do it, you can do whatever you want.”