Campese prepared for Test No 100

Rugby Union

Whatever the final score against Italy in Padua on Wednesday, the first Test match of Australia's European tour will be David Campese's day.

Call him what you will - the world's top test try scorer, legendary entertainer, or just plain Campo - the Australian winger whose retirement has turned into something of an annual event will make his 100th Test appearance in Padua.

Even if the Wallabies win by the tidy margin everyone expects at the Stadio del Plebiscito, Campese is assured of a hero's welcome in the northern town, whom he guided to two titles in his three years as a resident.

He celebrated his 34th birthday on Monday with old friends, shrugging off any suggestion that partying might not be the best training for a man who has not played for seven weeks. "Can't I celebrate with old friends? I'm Australian. No problem," he told reporters.

Apart from being Campese's 100th cap, Wednesday's match will mark the start of his 18th tour with the Wallabies and could bring him a 66th international try.

Only France's Philippe Sella has won more caps - 111 in total - and nobody is yet ruling out the blunt-talking Campese making a bid for the overall No 1 spot, although he claims he is not fussed by figures. "I'm not interested in records," he said.

Australia's coach, Greg Smith, has made four alterations to the side who were beaten 25-19 by South Africa in Australia's last test in early August, with Tim Horan winning a recall at wing. Horan, who has played most of his 43 Tests in the centres, replaces Ben Tune after missing Australia's last two Tests with a broken nose.

The injured prop Dan Crowley has been replaced by Richard Harry, David Knox returns to the Test fold after a two-year absence in place of the stand-off Scott Bowen, while Daniel Manu replaces Tim Gavin at No 8.

Australia suffered their first setback on Saturday when they lost Garrick Morgan for the rest of their European tour. Morgan, who broke his ankle in Australia's 55-19 victory over Italy A in Catania, will be replaced by Warwick Waugh.

Italy, beaten 31-22 by Wales in their last Test on 5 October, are without their injured captain Massimo Cuttitta, who pulled a muscle in a recent European club match. Massimo Giovanelli, who plays in France for PUC, takes over as captain.

n Proposed transfer rules in New Zealand ran into a potential threat yesterday when the anti-monopolies watchdog said they could damage competition. The New Zealand Rugby Football Union last month established 15 categories of players and corresponding transfer fees, from NZ$2,000 (pounds 925) for a Third Division "development" player to $125,000 for an All Black. The anti-monopolies Commerce Commission, in a draft ruling, said it was unhappy with several aspects of the scheme.

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