Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Campese: We Must Do More for the Minnows; Mauling: Juan Smith Breaks through the Namibia Defence during Their Warm-Up Match in Cape Town Last Week, Which South Africa Won 105-13

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Campese: We Must Do More for the Minnows; Mauling: Juan Smith Breaks through the Namibia Defence during Their Warm-Up Match in Cape Town Last Week, Which South Africa Won 105-13

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

DAVID CAMPESE today accused rugby bosses of damaging the sport byallowing the prospect of the smaller countries to be humiliated at the WorldCup.

The International Rugby Board are considering reducing the number teams at the2011 tournament in New Zealand from 20 to 16, which would mean less minnowstaking part.

However, Campese believes the IRB should have adopted a radical proposal putforward by England in their failed bid to host this year's World Cup whichwould have made the tournament more even.

The Rugby Football Union, who did not get any major support for theirground-breaking idea, wanted to run two competitionsthe main Cup and a parallel event for the smaller nationsto ensure those countries did not get embarrassed by suffering cricket scoresagainst the major teams.

Campese fears that will be a fate suffered by many of the lesser rugby nationsin the coming weeks in France and predicts Namibia could give away more than300 points from their three pool games against the hosts, Ireland andArgentina.

The outspoken Australian World Cup winner said: "Namibia conceded a century ofpoints in their recent warm up match with South Africa and you have to ask thequestion; Why are amateur teams playing in the World Cup in the professionalera? I think it's pathetic and the IRB should have gone with England's idea oftwo tournaments running at the same time.

"The IRB haven't thought about where the World Cup is heading and I do not seehow is it going to help the sport in Namibia, Georgia and Portugal to havethese teams hammered in every game.

"How are you helping spread the game of rugby by showing those teams beingbadly beaten on regular basis? I can see a strong argument for the Cup goingstraight into a quarter-final format for the top eight ranked teams.

"This isn't like the cricket World Cup where we saw Ireland and Bangladeshmaking it into the knock-out stages. In rugby, the winner will come from thesame five or six countries. End of story." Campese, who scored 64 tries in 101Tests, has just completed a two-year stint with the Natal Sharks Super 14outfit, working as skills coach and helping the team move off the bottom of thetable to reach the final this season. …

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